Housing

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In Germany for housing, the percentage cost of income is 27% and in Britain its 40%. Additionally there is a corrolation in that the higher the percentage of home-ownership, the higher is the amount of unemployment.

The combination of home ownership with a lack of homes for rent pushes up the housing cost and increases immobility. It increases the cost of living and reduces the quality of life through a need to have long commutes to work through public transport because home owners are stuck in their homes and have to commute to work. Especially the sale of many council flats increased social immobility and increased the cost of housing and reduced the availability of homes for rent.

In Britain renters stay in their homes for about 4 years and in Germany for around 11 years.

Britain is obsessed with home ownership.

Additionally real wages have fallen by 6%.

Yet the government created this red herring Brexit that is supposed to solve all the problems. One of the new Conservative candidates, Dominic Raab, threatens to shut down parliament to circumvent the democratic process and create a no-deal Brexit. Brace yourselves.

Britain is getting poorer under this government.

Source Politics Live, 6/6/19

BBC ‘High rents make young people less mobile’

BBC Through the wealth gap, the proportion of second home-ownership amongst the wealthiest has risen, whilst the average person is kept out of homeownership.

 

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More young men remain residing at home

It is being blamed on the economic downturn but may also have to do with the direct selling of properties to foreign investors. See link to report.

It affects me, both my adult sons still live with me, whilst my daughters have all flown the nest. Of course they are entitled to housing because of babies and also if they find a partner with a home, they are off.

A lot may have to do with men these days earning the minimum wage.

Out of balance

My previous blog ended with a remark on the Bedroom Tax, which is just a very simplified version of making those who did not purchase their homes pay for the very fact, that they did not buy their homes in time and for punishment. Because if you are a leaseholder, then you can severely under-occupy just because you bought a place and almost 50% of council flats are now privately owned.

If it really was as easy as the government pretends, those who move into smaller accommodation make room available for those who are in need of accommodation then the whole problem would simply be solved by allowing people to swap homes.

Create homes exchange lists, as they usually already exist on council bidding sites and then the people with too much room could swap with those in need of room.

Obviously this just doesn’t work out. So if the objective is to allocate homes to those who need it, there is no system in place to actually do so.

Those who are stuck in too large homes because they cannot find any smaller ones are unfairly discriminated against.  People may not only be stuck because there is no smaller accommodation available locally but also because they cannot move further away because of work commitments or medical reasons.

If the overall objective is to just ensure that all have enough space to live in then more pressure should be put on home owners to let out spare rooms too, give up second homes and occupy less space for themselves just because they can pay for it.

This whole bedroom tax system if merely an instrument to punish those who did not purchase their council flats.

 

Is it social cleansing or a fashion trend?

On one hand the trend to house poor families out of London is called an attempt to socially cleanse rich boroughs like Kensington and Chelsea, a borough short of social housing and on the other hand I read stories that white people are very keen to move out of London to the country-side. There is a nice graph on the link.

What is it then a desire to escape the large city or is it social cleansing. There seems to be a consensus wanting to move.

Perhaps the first solution, wanting to move people out of London by Kensington and Chelsea is not restricted to white people who seem to voluntarily leave London to escape the increasingly ethnic immigration influx. I cannot quite belief why K & C wants to move ambitious young people out of the borough because they are ambitious here in London but what are they supposed to do with their ambitions in an area that is not economically so active as inner London?

Bedroom hardship

I am very certain, that as soon as people get hit with their new rent demands, many will want to move to smaller accommodation. Yet they’ll find that the market is saturated and nothing is available. Even those who try their hardest to find a smaller flat will have to pay the bedroom tax without it being a fault of their own that they now cannot get a smaller place to live in.

In the privately rented sector, people will need to pay a deposit. I have not seen it advertised anywhere that people actually will get help with this. Therefore I do agree, that this Bedroom Tax, as Labour calls it is unfair to people. It will be unfair to landlords, who will find themselves facing large arrears and negative bank balances.

The government simply argues that they cannot afford to pay housing benefit for spare bedrooms and need to get the housing market moving and people into work.

It’s the ‘sink or swim’ approach and many will sink rather than swim. Tenants will see their housing benefit or universal benefit paid directly to them and if they have such hardship that they can hardly cope with the £500 cap per week, they will rather spend the money on food than on rent.

Many people will get eviction notices and register as homeless with councils and even then councils will find it difficult to secure enough small bedroom accommodation to give all homeless the size of flat they deserve under the new regulations.

That bedroom tax is going to cause a lot of problems but unfortunately people will have to put up with it unless a court decides it is unreasonable and perhaps it could breach Human Rights.  Else people have to wait until after the next elections and most likely that will see a Labour government who will need some time to change housing rules. But by then, and the government knows this most people will already have been evicted from their current flats.

So all rules governing tenancy security will be thrown overboard by the Bedroom Tax. It doesn’t matter how secure your tenancy is, if you can’t pay the rent, you still are going to get evicted.

This seems a contractual oddity because there is no clause in the secure tenancy agreements that the rules on size of property could be changed during the course of the contract.

But I also vividly remember how Labour Party members, when Labour was still in government, who screamed about under-occupation and it were Labour members who called for urgent changes to current housing laws, so who are they to complain now?

No beginning, no end

There is no end to the liberal thinking these days. In certain aspects we have strict laws.

When it comes to class A, B, C drugs; they have an obvious and immediate addictive detrimental health effect and so they are banned.

Alcohol has a slowly deteriorating effect and it is allowed to be sold widely, though certain by-laws now restrict the anti-social effects of it.

Eating is widely discussed and how over-eating causes a slow deterioration of a person’s health in that obesity sets in.

The overall tendency is to be tolerant and legalize as much as possible as it is thought that tolerance and freedom to choose is the sign of a free society.

It is interesting to see whether we are healthier in a tolerant society or in a restricted one. the answer is easy, as there is no comparison to older societies, which did not have the vast amount of vaccines that we have today. And even in current, more primitive societies with stricter moral codes, use of modern medicines seems to be restricted.

These days we try to solve all problems by vaccinating away the diseases that our modern lifestyles cause.

All negative transgressions of nature that cause us to have any type of noticeable illness; doctors want to find a vaccine against it. Prolonging life is the most important cause society has whilst at the same time lifestyles help people to shorten their lifespans prematurely, just for many to cry out for new solutions to their problems.

I just wonder whether there is any point in having an opinion because politicians are running away with the agenda and make law after law that dictate what we can and cannot do. In the end we just have to ensure that individuals have the right to make a free choice and are not forced into lifestyles because economic circumstances force them to.

 

 

Intolerable rise in homelessness

The rise of homeless people  in London has risen to enormous proportions, I read today.  The percentage of families with children living in B&B has risen by 385% in 2012.  The number of rough sleepers has risen by 40%.

This is the totally irresponsible housing and housing benefit policy this government has introduced that is responsible for this trend.

It doesn’t really matter that the DWP constantly wants to push people into jobs, when they have nowhere to stay permanently; how can they plan for employment, their children’s education, any health care they may need long term.

It seems cynical that the government now offers a £500 set up grant to allow setting up child care to enable mothers back into work, when those mothers have not even got permanent accommodation. Parents’ worries are needlessly increased by various risk factors, such as no permanent housing, being cut off from benefits for weeks on end when parents are accused of not doing enough to find work and mothers and children are left without any money and they have nowhere permanent to call a home.

Government these days is obsessed with pushing mothers into work and stopping women from having children or making them beg for food in soup kitchens as soon as their children reach age 7 or less. The age goes down all the time, that mothers can no longer receive Income Support and are forced to change to Job Seekers Allowance or get nothing at all for themselves to live on.

Birmingham Council has practically been bankrupted by a recent ruling that forces the council now, in a time of national austerity to pay out compensation for women’s under-payment through equal pay.  Yet that is fine for the women who have the jobs and are established in their lives but for those women who are now told that work is better than benefits but who have nothing to call even a home, the hope of an equally well paid job is just a far away illusion, that has not even realised yet.

It is always easy for those on the top to look down on those who have not achieved the same level of luxury in their lives and edge them on to achieve, but when you are at the bottom of the ladder, it is quite clear that the steps on that ladder are cracked and that those at the top have not even an idea what it is like to struggle day after day with simple things.

ANTI-SOCIAL private tenants

I am pretty much a live and let live type of person, and not wanting to push any political principle, I have found that it is not just so easy as to say that anti-social behaviour is caused by those low rent unemployed residents of certain areas.

I live in an area that has now become highly desirable, not at least because the poor social tenants in my area are behaving nicely and so that attracts the more afluent type of neighbours, the people who pay lots of money for flats in inner city areas.

My flat is in a block adjoining Victoria Park. Social housing flats are relatively cheap to rent and when the buy your flat boom first started some people snapped up 3 bed flats overlooking the park for as little as £6.000.

Now such flats are even bought by foreign investors for as much as 300.000K. I share my flat with others and our rent is fully paid without any housing benefit but we have had nothing but trouble with leaseholders and private tenants. We never experienced as much problems with plumbing since our neighbours upstairs bought their flat and didn’t repair the plumbing, so that we got flooded 3 times. Then when they could not afford to pay for necessary repairs a foreign buyer bought the flat and has now let it via estate agents to students.

Those students are up at night and sleep during the day, whilst the rest of the block pretty much has a day-time routine. We have loud talking on the balcony at night, loud music etc. There are laws that require children to attend school, there are workers who have to sleep at night to be able to work the next day. But that does not impress our student neighbours who party night after night.

If the block was let by a social housing landlord to families who are all pretty much need the same lifestyle because all have kids to bring to school in the morning, most have day-time jobs and most want to get on with each other, then there would be no problem. But because someone has bought a flat and wants to rent it out for the most possible rents, we now have neighbours who don’t give a damn. They have been asked by various residents to keep it quiet. But what do we hear loudly over the balcony: “Are you smoking a joint?”

Despite anti-social behaviour hotlines, anti-social behaviour officers, we have had to put up with this for over 2 months now.

Obviously live and let live only works for those who have the same or similar goals in live. People shouldn’t forget that it is only because the social housing tenants behave amicably the investors want to come to an area and because social tenants behave nicely the rich cannot come and play rough-shot with the neighbourhood and make live impossible for us.  There is no point in driving the social rent paying residents out of an area just to take over the blocks of flats to allow anti-social rich people to ruin it for all of us.

Space is money = time is money

Of course the European countries have more problems next year but there was little sign of trying to save money yesterday. It must have been very expensive to put on that show of wealth and of making an impression with the fire works display in London. London calling we could hear and the theme was set.

Yet Angela Merkel warns over further austerity measures. But, if business continues to trade the way they do, and it is not only merely a matter of style but of principle, we will see that companies find it hard to make a profit.

Every economy and business student learns in one of the basic modules that storage costs has to be set the lowest possible margin to keep capital flowing but when we look around our stores, what do we see, enormous amounts of shelf-space reserved for luxury items, which have the lowest turnaround. The smallest areas in supermarkets are left for the cheapest items that sell the most. So the imbalance on how sales space is allocated in the first place should be looked at again.

We see how people are still encouraged to get into debt by allowing them to borrow on credit cards and then apply to have the debt written off to the tune of £15.000. Of course for most people unable to repay debt it would be impossible to borrow in the first place but those who can borrow £15.000 should only be able to do so if they can repay.

In Housing they now want to address the problem of allocating space to where it is needed because it becomes more and more apparent that the problem of space is essential to resolving economic problems because not only time is money but also space is money. Apparently over 6.0000 council tenants earn in excess of £100.000 per year.  There is no space requirement for anybody wishing to purchase a council flat; people can buy a flat as big as they like, even without any kids. So 1 person can purchase a council property for themselves, if they buy it from somebody who acquired it legally before and then perhaps was forced out by high costs.

Council housing replaced with mortgages

The new policy introduced shortly will make it possible for people to purchase a home with as little as a 5% deposit and the government will underwrite some of the risk on mortgages for first-time-buyers.

Discounts available to existing council tenants, who wish to purchase their council homes will rise from £26.000 to £52.000. It’s all to do with the residents’ responsibility for improvements to their area and block and individual homes.

I understand that even if you only part-buy your home, you have to pay for improvements to the block you live in and that is what makes it very expensive. It is not just a matter of your monthly outgoing and fixed bills like mortgage, rent, rates and service charges, it’s all about those structural costs that a landlord or authority can levy on leaseholders for work that does not need their prior permission. This is what makes it unaffordable for those who just about manage to scrap together the fixed costs each month. With the continuing job security problems I think that this new scheme is not going to solve housing problems but will increase them.

It is not just a matter of owning a home but living somewhere affordable including all costs that arise.

What this government does is, it deepens the rift between the haves and have-nots and does not do anything to improve job or home security. The plans to outlaw squatting, will considerably enhance the power of property owners to leave properties empty, even if there is a severe housing shortage and that could force people to break the law to have a roof over their heads.  It is only a short-term boost that might create jobs whilst these homes are built but once they are built it is back to square one. Unfortunately politicians are only responsible for their actions for the term of their governance and not beyond.

Usually they all excuse unsatisfactory politics by blaming it on the previous party in power. Hopefully funding changes for political parties will bring some relief because if latest suggestions get accepted, which will cap individual party contributions to £10.000 per individual per year and parties could get £300 funding for each vote received. Currently political parties are totally cynical towards the little man and do simply what the big funders want them to do in the knowledge that the the voters just have to put up and shut up with whatever nonsense they put before us.

It simply will not solve economic problems, that resulted from the long-term changes in production and services, which have been moved abroad, that people are encouraged to own homes. Perhaps people will be driven into submission by increasing scarcity of housing, so that they rather become home owners for increased chances of getting jobs because one can anticipate that employers will want to sift through applications to see if an applicant owns their home.

Home ownership will considerably increase the cost of living for the little man who has to pay for structural improvements, the cost of which is normally paid for by council tax and levied in easy monthly instalments to tenants and others. It will increase inflexibility in employment choices and make the housing market very inflexible generally.

I think that New Labour, Conservatives and the Liberals all have the same problem, that is look beyond tomorrow.

The current housing policy is copying the German housing market. Whilst we already enjoy German Christmas Markets, we now also get the German way of homing.

But the fact is that people pay more on a regular basis on rents and rates if they rent and the quality of structural improvements tends to be better in large blocks of flats, unless of course the governments squander the rents on war efforts or distribute the money to other authorities with less income from housing revenue. This housing strategy is simply not a good solution for those who do not or cannot buy their homes and those who have to be put up at very high rents in private accommodation or they would be homeless. This will drive their monthly benefit allowance very high and most of their £500 per week will go on rents, with little left for the people to live on and children will suffer even more than they already do.

I think that this government only drives forward improvements for the middle and upper classes but does nothing at all for anybody else.

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