We had invited Catherine West MP to speak on the housing question at our May meeting, but the sudden calling of a General Election means that, understandably, she is no longer available. So instead, we have a film from the same film maker who many of you will remember showing us his film on the Cuban health service
At the present time, this government, for the first time has been forced to admit the housing market is broken. This is after “they” put forward laws that made a the market worse not better. The cap on Housing Benefits, The Housing and Planning Act 2016. The Stop Paying of Benefit for under occupants. They have all helped to heap oil on a fire. The former mayor deliberate cut in social house building and then forcing councils and social landlords to have higher rents by creating “affordable housing” rents at mere 15% below the the market rate.
Housing is a complex issue but since the 1985 Housing Act and the government forcing local councils to sell off their own council houses at a discount. The level of social housing has gone down to what is now a fifth of it size or 21 % of what it was. While the private renting sector has seen a three fold growth and house prices rise by a massive 10 times, nationally. In fact, house prices in the London area and South East has increase so much, that property has become the number one investment for foreign companies. They can make more money investing in housing in a year than they could in 5 years as speculator in stock and shares on the stock market.
So when the government saying “the housing market is broken” they are doing so with a hammer in their hands and claiming, it is all the fault of these builders not building enough houses. The builders then come back with “a nod and wink” and claiming that the planning laws are to strict and they are not allowed to build on “Green Belt Land”. When the reality is they have never been a time where they have been able to make bigger profits from building and the private sector is free to charge, what is now the highest rents, in whole of Europe. Therefore, we need local councils who are committed to dealing with homelessness and helping proving more support for social housing.