Can Labour fix the Tory housing crisis with these policies?

The Conservative housing revolution was nothing more than a way of making the public pay time and time again for the same houses.

As John Prescott points out in his Mirror article, “we built the council houses, subsidised the substantial discount that allowed tenants to buy and sell for a profit, then paid huge amounts in housing benefit to the private landlords who bought them.”

Meanwhile, we were losing 10 council houses for every one built.

That is not an intelligent way to use either the houses or our money.

Lord Prescott’s article suggests a series of ways in which Labour could resolve the current, Conservative-created crisis.

Could they work?

And isn’t there a serious flaw with any plan – evidenced by what happened when the Tories took over in 2010? They simply reversed Labour’s reforms.

What’s to stop that happening again, if the public is ever gullible enough to let a Conservative government back into office?

And how do we prevent it?

Theresa May told her conference she wanted to “build a better Britain”.

But she couldn’t even build a proper conference set, with first an F off then an E.

She promised to spend £2billion on affordable and council housing.

After the speech, her spin doctors had to confess that her “rebirth of council house building” would build 25,000 homes over five years . With more than a million waiting for a council house, it doesn’t even amount to a sticking plaster on a gaping wound caused by the Tories.

Thatcher’s Right to Buy, which gave huge discounts to council house tenants to buy their homes, took two million out of supply. For every 10 council houses sold, only one new one was built. Over a third of those sold ended up in the private rental market.

So as taxpayers, we built the council houses, subsidised the substantial discount that allowed tenants to buy and sell for a profit, then paid huge amounts in housing benefit to the private landlords who bought them.

When I was Deputy Prime Minister I built houses for £60,000 without a deposit or mortgage to rent or buy. These “flat pack” modular homes can be built off site and then assembled.

They’re cheap and energy-­efficient, reducing fuel bills for tenants. Let’s build them on public brownfield land we own. It’s an area the size of the West Midlands.

Labour also propose private rent controls. The total rent paid to private landlords is more than double the mortgage interest rate paid to banks by homeowners.

Why not look at a living rent, with rents linked to local earnings so we can crack down on the profiteering of buy-to-let landlords?

And finally, let’s scrap Right to Buy for good. It’s a lottery for those who have a council house and we end up paying for it with fewer homes for those in need.

That’s a proper housing revolution.

Source: Theresa May wants to “build a better Britain” but it’s Labour who will fix the Tory housing crisis, says John Prescott


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5 thoughts on “Can Labour fix the Tory housing crisis with these policies?

  1. rotzeichen

    Quite clearly if Britain builds council houses using the local authorities and providing sufficient money to do it, they should be enshrined in a legal local authority trust, that forbids them to be sold. If tenants decide they can afford to buy houses, they must do so on open market.

    I am sure that most working in a system where they are payed real wages, that they would eventually afford to buy their own home if they so chose to, as the rented council accommodation would act as a natural break on house inflation, in that it would make no sense to cripple yourself with long term debt if rents were much cheaper.

    The reason people still buy with high house prices, is that private rents are extortionately high.

  2. Dan

    Surely there’s a simple and elegant way to prevent the Tories ever forming a government again – it’s called proportional representation.

  3. Zippi

    What idiot thought that it would be a good idea to sell council houses and… not replace them?
    Also, there needs to be tighter regulation in the private housing sector. Anybody who can afford to buy an addition property thinks that they can be a landlord when the facts say otherwise. These people are only interested in making money; getting people to pay their mortgages for them, instead of providing a service. That has to change. All landlords should be registered and licenced and subject to the same rules as any business. The property should be listed as an asset of the business, accounts should be kept and anybody who breaches the terms of the licence should have it revoked. Housing is serious, it should not be a quick, easy way to make money. If necessary, there should be an ombudsman.
    Theresa May goes on about the mythical “British Dream” whatever that is but how is anybody supposed to be able to afford to buy their own place and make a home in it, if they cannot save, because of extortionate rents, usually for substandard accommodation? If you went to any shop to buy a product of similar quality, you would be offered a substantial discount, not asked to pay a premium! Mrs. May said that the first duty of any government is the safety of its citizens; does that not include housing? The Tories say that it is the job of the private sector to provide housing but when the private sector does not fulfill its remit, surely government is duty-bound to intervene? If it cannot fulfill its obligation to its citizens, this government needs to follow the conference slogan behind its leader (before the E did!).

  4. treborc

    Funny old world, I was helping out at a well known Charity, I sent a letter to Prescott about social housing now being unfit for human habitation , he wrote back saying the cost to make these social homes habitual would be £20 billion, and he stated what government in it’s right mind would spend that money on anything, he then said it should be up to the tenants to do this by buying their homes .

    Six months later the banking crises which made £20 billion look like peanuts . not forgetting he was the housing minister for new labour 13 years.

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