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Do We Need More Social Housing

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JoyBoroAngel Report 22 Mar 2013 15:59

if they can afford to buy a £600 k house
they can afford to pay all of it :-D

how about capping this to £100k houses


AnninGlos Report 22 Mar 2013 15:57

Merlin yet on at least two estates wihin walking distance of me some houses were privately bought and some were bought or let (not sure which) by the Housing association and let to tenenats on benefits. (Not really been any problems with the mix I don't think.


OneFootInTheGrave Report 22 Mar 2013 15:16

Anything that would help ordinary working people to get on the housing ladder has to be something to be commended, however there is precious little sign of that happening.

The Budget on Wednesday as far as house building is concerned is an open charter for developers to make a fortune, within a couple of hours of the Budget, the Planning Minister was meeting this country's largest property developers and more or less said to them, that the main reason behind the announcement to help people seeking to buy a home was to create a building boom.

At that meeting he said hat the UK is one of the richest countries in the world, yet it was a country where fewer people are able to buy a home at all, fewer people are able to buy it before the age of 30, and fewer people are able to buy it without their parents help, I will give him credit for admitting that there is a problem.

However the announcement in the budget will not provide any new social housing, and as I said earlier it may well prove to be a dangerous one and it appears it could also be open to abuse. I would add that I am flabbergasted that the tax payer is to subsidise mortgages for houses up to a value of £600,000.

Many ordinary working people are not looking for mortgages anywhere near £600,000, but they cannot get a mortgage because of their low earnings.

Maybe it would help if we had a Chancellor who had some experience of life instead of one who studied modern history at Oxford University, he graduated in 1992 and did a stint as a data entry clerk entering details into a computer database, then worked for a week at Selfridges, and in 1993 done some freelance work for the Daily Telegraph. In 1994 he went to work as a research assistant at Conservative Central Office and in 2001 he became an MP.

That is some CV for the man charged with managing this country's finances, and I am sure that his marriage to the daughter of a senior Tory Peer and that his father was a Baronet had nothing to do with his rapid rise to power, and that it was all down to knowledge and experience that he gained in his previous employment ;-)


Merlin Report 22 Mar 2013 14:21

John, they tried that in Wolverhampton many years ago.The Old Courtalds Site off Horden Rd Whitmore Reans. Didnt work.Nice Semi,s with garages etc ,close to town ,Shops,Schools, but when it was revealed that part of them were to be Council owned and rented out,The people who were going to Buy, walked away saying, Why should we Purchase when others are getting the same property without any effort.


JustJohn Report 22 Mar 2013 13:41

OFG. Moneu is voted for natinally and locally. It seesm to nbe in little pockets and ring fenced and there are contingency pots everywhere.

So when people say lets save the 0.5% we spend on foreign aid, for example, and spend it on starving pensioners in Scotland, it is not likely that will happen.

If Alex Salmond declares UDI and England has to go to war to win back Scotland (only an example before you swallow your tongue) there will be loads of money in a pot to marshall the troops.

As we are less likely to go to war against Scotand, France, Argentine etc etc in the near future, might it not be a good idea to open these pots and spend them on building up our infrastructure. And particularly the social housing stock, which could then be sold off when we come out of recession in 2018, 2020, whenever.

And if people could move to a nice estate where perhaps 50% of houses were privately owned and 50% were council owned or housing association owned, no one would know who was buying and who was tenanted. And the tenants should be given an option to buy (or buy an equity share) after, say, 4 years of trouble free renting.

Does that make any sense? Not claiming to know what happens. Just what I would like to happen myslef if I could not afford to buy yet but wanted to live in a nice new house and build up a stake in that house in the near future. :-)


OneFootInTheGrave Report 22 Mar 2013 12:25

I fully agree that immigration, especially from Europe, has not helped the housing situation, and I also think that all governments past and present have to shoulder some of the blame, they are all good at talking the talk but not very good at backing up the talk with actions.

Don't get me wrong, I am not against immigration, without immigration many of the the everyday services we rely on would be in an even sorrier state than they are now. Having said that immigration over many years has got out of control and the UK is now seen as a soft touch by many and we do need to put a stop to that.

As Carol said many hard working couples earn an amount that just takes them above the amount at which they would qualify for benefits and they really do struggle to get by from one week to the next. In today's world the only time they will be able to afford to buy their own property will be if they win the lottery, so we do need to address the shortage of social housing for those hard working couples.

I cannot see that the announcement to help home buyers in the budget will help to achieve this, as it is aimed at affordable housing, not social housing. As has been reported the announcement in the budget could prove to be a dangerous one as it could create another property bubble that could lead to the sort of sub-prime mortgage disaster that got us into the mess we are in now :-|

It also appears, at present, to be open to abuse as it will enable many current homeowners to buy a second home on a mortgage which is subsidised by the tax payer :-|

I find it very strange that we cannot afford to build social housing, but we can find around £60 million to help West Ham Football Club to lease and refurbish the Olympic Stadium, £60 million would build a lot of homes :-S


Guinevere Report 22 Mar 2013 11:08

Lots of threads go off topic on GR.

I'm at a loss to understand why people moan about it.

This is a chat board. Not the Oxford debating Society.
Chat = Conversation. Conversation is rarely limited to one topic - and would be very boring if it was. Imagine someone telling you off for going "off-topic" when you were chatting at a bus stop.

You'd think it was daft.

Oh, naughty me off-topic again. ;-)

♥†۩ Carol   Paine ۩†♥

♥†۩ Carol Paine ۩†♥ Report 22 Mar 2013 11:04

If we must dwell on the past, we should not have taken our flag & planted it all over the world & I personally think that we should not have joined the EU. We did these things & are now having to cope with the people who now have the right to live here.
Rather than dwelling on which Government was instrumental in causing Great Britain’s current economic problems, we should be hoping that this one & those in the future learn by those mistakes & get us back on an even track.
I have just read through this entire post & think that most posters do not really understand what it is to try to live & bring up a family on minimum wage.
In many cases the combined wages of some couples takes them just above the amount where they can claim benefits, but it is a struggle to live; this means that they are unable to save to buy their own property so need to rent their homes.
In many areas there is not enough social housing, so private rental is the only option. The rents on these are high, so this means that housing benefit has to be claimed. I do think that there should be a cap on the amount of housing benefit that can be paid to private landlords; this should be levied at not much more than that paid for social housing of the same size property in each area. I do accept that private landlords have added expenses, but not the amount they charge. It is their choice to rent to those on benefits.
The building of more social housing would help the economy in two ways, getting those in the building trade back to work & cutting down the amount being paid out in housing benefits.


OneFootInTheGrave Report 22 Mar 2013 10:22

AnninGlos - In 1952 we moved to a brand new 3 bed-roomed council house a couple of miles away from Glencraig in a place called Ballingry, separate kitchen, an inside toilet with a bath, hot and cold water on tap as the coal fire had a back boiler, gas cooker, electric lighting, and a front and rear garden, it was amazing.

My brother and I must have spent the first week running up and down the stairs flushing the toilet, turning the taps on and off, and switching the lights on and off.

Happy Days :-)


JoyBoroAngel Report 22 Mar 2013 09:40

whats the point of building more houses
if they keep filling them with foreigners

we need to close our boarders
until we have things under more control :-( :-(


AnninGlos Report 22 Mar 2013 09:33

Good to see this thread brought back on topic.

Interesting to read the story of your life post war. I was lucky as my parents managed to scrape together enough to buy a bungalow in 1939 and we had 3 bedrooms and a bathroom. (although no central heating of course and I was bathed in front of the fire in the kitchen in a galvanised bath.

Social (council) housing became a fact of life for some, those lucky enough, and were a good idea. I suppose there were, even in those days, ways of jumping the queue with extra points. But we didn't have the immigration problem we have now, and we didn't have the number of single parent mothers who seem able to be housed these days. (That is not a criticism but an observation).

In our area, as I suspect in many at that time, we had a large estate of council owned prefabs which were welcomed by people needing homes. Social housing became more necessary as many people lost their homes when they were bombed out. Not just in London but in other cities such as Portsmouth. In the 50s I used to visit a friend who had been given a prefab and they were very comfortable, but they were a temporary home and not built to last (although some did. When we lived in Essex from 68 to 73 there was an estate of prefabs over the back from us.)

One big problem was the habit of building high rise flats to satisfy the social housing problem, it seemed good but mainly looked ugly and created a sort of ghetto mentality.

To answer your question, yes we probably do need more social housing but it needs to be built sensitively and sensibly. One, two and three beds and an agreement that it is not for life. and, as somebody has said, some of the long empty properties should be looked at as a possibility. In Gloucester they are doing just that already.


JustJohn Report 22 Mar 2013 09:08

Sorry about being one of culprits for going off topic, OFG. It was the mention of Mrs Thatcher - like red rag to a bull to some of us who feel she has had a very soft landing from her crimes. History will not be kind to her, I feel sure.

That story about your childhood is fascinating. You can understand why people were so proud of their council houses in early days - bad and cramped conditions, something that looked nice and new to move to etc..

Planning was so bad after war. Streets in Walsall were demolished - and houses were not that bad. It was a traditional way of life - with pigeons and perhaps a whippet in the back, a polished step and white nets. Bit like Coronation St.

In their place, they built 4 blocks of 8 storey flats - so 128 flats in total to replace about 100 terraces. Playgrounds in middle, gardens, walk ways. Sounds good, and some settled to it. But lifts often broke down, graffiti appeared, a couple of people got very depressed and jumped.

And in last decade, this 1950's and 1960's landscape is being replaced by modern boxes, made of plywood and looking pretty - but will fall apart in a very few years.

Terraced houses are not so easy on the eye as these cardboard boxes sprouting up everywhere today. But they have quite a lot of space, are built of solid materials and you do have a community spirit. Some were born in these terraces before the war and, for all the inconvenience and lack of very modern facilities, it gives a better way of life imo.


OneFootInTheGrave Report 22 Mar 2013 03:45

I really thought he title of my thread was "Do We Need More Social Housing" and I cannot recall that I asked about any Prime Minister or Trade Union Leader :-S

So, going back on topic, it may be that one part of the problem is that nowadays there are many people living in social housing who could probably afford to buy a house.

We should also not forget why social housing came into being. Necessity not entitlement was the reason. This was because of the appalling conditions a vast number of working people were living in, while many employers provided decent accommodation for their workers, there were many more who failed abysmally to do this. Many ordinary working people and their families had to live in small, overcrowded, unhygienic accommodation, which did not even have basic things like running water, I know as I was one off those people.

I was born, lived, and worked in the Royal Burgh of Dunfermline area for most of the time between 1943 and 1983. For the first 9 years of my life I was brought up in the miners rows in a small village in Fife in Scotland called Glencraig, and the miners rows were owned by Wilsons and Clyde Coal Company who owned Glencraig Colliery where my grandfather worked. Living in our house were my grandfather, my mother, my father, my younger brother, and myself.

The house consisted of one room, no separate kitchen - the fireplace was a range and you cooked on that and heated water in a pot on it; no inside toilet - you had an outside toilet; no electricity - light was provided by gas mantles; no running water inside the house - the tap was outside; no bedrooms - what you had were a couple of alcoves of the one room with curtains and those alcoves were where you slept.

You washed your hands and face in a basin and when you had a bath it was in a galvanised bath tub that sat in the middle of the floor and when it was not being used it hung on a nail on the outside wall.

When I was a youngster, I was born in 1943, many ordinary working families in the 1940's; 1950's; and 1960's had only one wage earner, the norm then was for the wife to stay at home to raise the children, many could not afford to buy a car let alone a house. After my grandfather was killed in a mining accident we moved to Rosyth as my father worked At Rosyth Naval Dockyard which was the largest employer in the area, at its peak it employed over 12,000 people and less than 1000 had a car, and to provide housing for the work force Rosyth Garden City and a housing scheme called Dollytown were built as a necessity not as an entitlement.

In those days social housing was a necessity because in many areas of the country, certainly in parts of Scotland, the era of private housing developments was still in it's infancy and remained so until around the middle of the 1960's, in short even if you could afford to buy a house, and few ordinary working people could, there were no houses being built to buy.

Also in the 1950's and 1960's in Scotland as in other parts of the country, you had the slum clearances in places like Glasgow Edinburgh, and Dundee, this resulted in thousands upon thousands of people having to be re-housed. New housing schemes were built to re-house families from the slum areas, again it was necessity not entitlement that created the need for social housing.

However many of these schemes were not well designed as many were built without amenities such as shops, schools, libraries or community centres, added to that, when designing these schemes, many did not provide for any industries as they thought employers would locate to where the people were and in many cases they were to be proved wrong. However, the disastrous consequences of bad planning policies in the 1950's and 1960's is a story for another day.

In hindsight, had governments in the 1950's and 1960's implemented schemes to encourage and assist people buy their own home, then maybe we would not have such a major housing crisis now.


Porkie_Pie Report 22 Mar 2013 01:44

Now you are testing my memory Errol, I will need to think on that one, nothing comes to mind at the moment but it is late and Ive had a long day,

It was during the miners strike when i began to question my labour roots and my views on political parties,

up until then i never questioned my labour roots but after researching it was obvious to me what party represented what i wanted out of life.



eRRolSheep Report 22 Mar 2013 01:32

oh yes I'd forgotten about the Russian connection.
And wasn't there something to do with Libya too ?


Porkie_Pie Report 22 Mar 2013 01:23

Errol, I saw so called miners picketing at markham main in Armthorpe the colliery entrance is on the main road and to both sides and across the road are Miners houses where miners and their families live but it didn't stop them demolishing their comrades garden walls and breaking into their houses for ammunition to use as missiles to throw at anyone in the vicinity whether that be innocent people going about their business or police trying to keep the peace, Scargill had plenty of cash available for his mates/union men to use as they saw fit but none was spent on strike pay to help hard up miners feed their kids and all the time Scargill was spending like money was no object on himself and his family, even buying a new house and car and thats not to mention the 4 million pound donation from the russian miners that went missing


Edit It was 1 million pound donation from the russian miners that went missing


eRRolSheep Report 22 Mar 2013 01:13

Exactly and it was John's beloved Wales from where thugs were bussed into places like North Staffordshire (where three quarters of miners did not want to strike and tried to push for a national ballot) to "persuade" so-called scabs not to cross the picket lines. That area saw a lot of pretty appalling violence


Porkie_Pie Report 22 Mar 2013 01:01

Scargill was and still is a leach, still determined to have a free ride off the backs of the miners, had Joe Gormley still been President of the National Union of Mineworkers at that time the miners would not have gone on strike, even the vote for strike action was done in a underhanded way, the reality was the miners never had a voted for that strike



eRRolSheep Report 22 Mar 2013 00:39

They were antagonistic and bussed in - hence the term flying picket.

It was exactly the same with the so-called hunt saboteurs


eRRolSheep Report 22 Mar 2013 00:38

In some ways I blame Scargill for the demise of the unions