Thursday, October 29, 2020

We need more state houses

How bad is the housing crisis? This bad:

For the first time over 20,000 households are on the Government’s waitlist for public housing.

By the end of August 20,385 eligible households were on the waitlist for state or social housing, with over 18,000 ranked as “priority A” – the most needy.

This compared to 19,438 the month before and 13,167 in August 2019. The waitlist has more than trebled since 2017.

And from that trend, its only going to get worse.

The government has promised to build 18,000 new houses by 2024. Which means they are committing to not solve this problem (and to not solve it slowly, so that people will be left homeless for years and years). And on an essential like housing, that is simply not acceptable.

As for why they are committing to not solving this, part of the answer is almost certainly Labour's continuing commitment to austerity: having ruled out a wealth tax, capital gains tax, or any meaningful tax increase, they "have no money", and of course couldn't possibly borrow at negative interest rates to fund vital infrastructure. But part of it is also likely to be a desire not to "disrupt" the market. Because if everyone who needed a home had one, there wouldn't be massive competition for too few houses, rents and house prices would drop, and rich people would lose some of their paper wealth. To which most people would say "boo fucking hoo", but as is clear from their tax policy, rich people are who Labour represent now.