Sunday, June 14, 2015

The end of social housing? 10 Tory plans to finish it off

Hat tip to progressive Housing blog "Redbrick" where I have stolen their arguments about Government housing plans and put my own slant on it.  They highlight 10 problems with these plans for social housing :-
  1. "The new Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) – which precludes building for letting at social rents. 
  2. Conversions – the last AHP (which ended in March) led to 80,000 homes being built but at the cost of converting more than 80,000 existing homes from social rents to ‘Affordable Rents’. Even more conversions will be needed for the new AHP. 
  3. Right to buy sales – council starts (see above) have been vastly exceeded by sales and the gap will grow as discounts are increased. 
  4. Right to buy 2 for housing associations – like RTB1, it will see social rented homes sold and (perhaps) replaced by units at Affordable Rents. 
  5. Planning gain (section 106) – numbers of units delivered will fall as more loopholes open up, allowing obligations to be reduced or avoided completely. 
  6. Estate redevelopment – with encouragement from the housing minister, more homes will be demolished and the new units will be less affordable and fewer still will be let at social rents. 
  7. Welfare reforms – the next wave will hit social housing even harder, making it especially difficult to house larger families and pushing more low-income tenants out of their homes. 
  8. Discretionary housing payments – helping to mitigate the effects of the bedroom tax and other ‘reforms’, are being cut year-on-year. 
  9. High-value council house sales – yet-to-be-defined plans will force councils to sell off their most valuable properties as they fall vacant; if replaced, they will be with homes at Affordable Rents.
  10. (If we add the possible end of prudential borrowing to this list").
Redbrick concludes that this "starts to look like a concerted attack on social housing (and particularly on council housing)" I think if all above happens then this will effectively mean the end of social housing. High rent areas such as London will be "cleansed" of the poor first. The poor will be forced to move to low cost areas but this increase in demand which will eventually force up rents even in traditional low cost areas. One day there will be virtually no "social housing" anywhere since everywhere will be at some 80% of market rents (so called "affordable rents").

Ironically, this will also result in life long dependency on housing and state benefits for all low income workers at a massive cost to the taxpayer.

(Photo of Labour canvassers in a Tower Hamlets social housing block last month.  If these 2 and 3 bedroom flats are let at 80% market rent, then families on benefits will not be able to live here)
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