KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
18th January 2019
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News of the Treasury’s proposals that the Government instigate a taxpayer-funded programme of house building, to combat the housing crisis, struck me as something we’d heard before, but with a twist.
The last State-run mass house building programme was in the 1950s, mainly to replace the four million homes that had been destroyed during World War II and to continue the programme of moving Londoners out of crowded slum housing.
My parents were amongst thousands who moved into fabulous new houses on one of a number of ‘new town’ estates which were council owned and run, where they stayed until they’d saved enough money to place a deposit on a private home and apply for a mortgage. The system seemed to work very well until the Thatcher government decreed that those living in council accommodation could apply to buy their homes, at vastly below-market prices.
Thousands of tenants took advantage of the ‘Right to buy’ scheme over the years but it seems that little thought was put into what would happen if the population were to rise significantly.
Now we’re in trouble!
Under this latest scheme (which is already being trialled in Cambridgeshire) taxpayers will fund the construction of tens of thousands of homes, which will then be put up for sale on the open market.
The move is, I understand, borne out of frustration that the construction industry is not building enough housing to keep up with demand.
While, initially, I considered this to be an excellent idea – and great news for the KBB sector, I soon saw the problems… Living in a part of England that has very little land available and where ‘garden grabbing’ is rife, I know that the lack of land has been a major barrier to house building locally; but no doubt the Government will find a way to bypass planning laws and build on the Green Belt if it so wishes! In other parts of the country there’s an abundance of land but very little work available, so who would be able to afford to buy homes in those locations or be able to live in them if they need to work?
Is this yet another idea that’s not been thought through, I wonder?
12th December 2014