There isn’t a day goes by now without us hearing about the UK housing crisis, on the radio, TV, Social Media and other online streams.
But who are we to blame for the lack of housing in the UK? Even if our young citizens can just about afford a property, they are becoming burdened with spiralling debt with a huge mortgage, fearing any hike in interest rates.
Schemes to: ‘Part buy’, ‘Parents as Guarantors’, ‘Help to buy’ are all schemes to allegedly help our children onto the housing ladder, when they are, in fact, doing the most harm by shoring up property prices, not only for this generation but the next generation too. This can be evidenced by spiralling market values of the Corporate house builders: Persimmon, Bovis, Redrow, Barratt, leaving their shareholders to cream off the notoriously high dividends or realising the rise in the share price; profit taking.
Nationally, other contributing factor’s that can’t be ignored is nett migration, irrespective of who they are, running up to a third of a million each year. People will need somewhere to live.
House builders, alongside their consultants, often show that they can’t afford to build affordable housing by massaging viability assessment figures, thereby selling fewer homes to Housing Associations or to the local Council via a Section 106 agreement. This in turn pushes up land values, and as a consequence, property values.
Land banking is commonplace, whereby builders acquire land and sit on it; rising in value, there is no incentive to build if the land value is rising. This could be halted by introducing a Land Value Tax. It does what it say’s on the tin. This would stop, or at least reduce this practice overnight, releasing land for homes.
Private landlords have been accused of pushing up house prices by hoarding property, other than their own residence, simply to realise an income from letting. This reduces homes available, once again, pushing up house prices. In a recent article, Councillors are accused of being the biggest culprits of property hoarding:
Looking closer to home, a simple search on the Shepway District Council (SDC) website has revealed that our Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities, Jenny Hollingsbee has a portfolio of nine Shepway properties, including her own residence in Sellindge. Similarly, Paul Carter, Leader of KCC has a similar number of Kent properties. SDC Leader, David Monk has 2 properties in Shepway and 2 in Canterbury.
Jenny Hollingsbee, Paul Carter and David Monk. Between them, according to their ‘Register of Interests’, they own 22 properties.
Let’s not forget that Monk and Hollingsbee are supporters (as well as the Rebeun Brothers), of building a new town within our communities under the pretence that they are securing homes for future generations. Do they mean future generations with a hefty inheritance windfall coming their way, or for the ‘well off’ to purchase homes to rent out to the less fortunate, at sky high rates.
S&DRA is not opposed to housing being developed in and around our communities. SDC has already purchased land with Council tax payers money at arable rates, and can therefore go forward with developing real affordable homes, cutting out the corporate developers and their shareholders and using local builders. Council homes could easily be sympathetically built alongside land given over to Community Land Trust’s for development. Thinking outside of the box IS an option for all our communities. A town for the greedy instead of the needy is a catastrophic failing that SDC would never be forgiven for.
All our communities can work together, if we are allowed to, to make it local, make it affordable, making it, if we may coin a phrase: ‘For the many, not the (fortunate) few’.