Tag Archives: developer

Housebuilders rise to top of FTSE100 now YOU have to pay for pollution they cause

Housebuilding: the Tories have been looking for something on which they can blame their failure to build enough new homes – and have found it in the form of legal protections for river life. So they are scrapping those protections and forcing you to pay for pollution prevention measures.

Exactly as This Site predicted only hours ago, evidence is showing that a Tory government decision to scrap “nutrient neutrality” rules that protect river life from harm caused by housing developments is creating huge profits for builders.

Meanwhile, the cost of cleaning up their mess is set to fall on the public purse.

Here’s the evidence about building firms:

And The Guardian is saying the following about how the bill for their pollution will now be paid:

Taxpayers will pick up the bill for pollution by housebuilders, government officials have admitted, as rules on chemical releases into waterways are scrapped.

The government has said it will double Natural England’s wetland funding to £280m in order to show it is trying to meet the requirements of its legally binding Environment Act.

This extra £140m will come from the public purse, the government confirmed. When asked by the Guardian whether this meant the taxpayer was now picking up the bill for pollution caused by developers, a government official responded “yes”, adding that while “the polluter pays principle is very important”, it was having too many adverse impacts on small- and medium-sized housebuilders.

So there you have it.

You paid for the privatised energy companies’ enormous profits. You paid for the privatised water firms to pollute our rivers. And now you are to pay for mitigation of the already-private builders’ attempts to kill off any remaining life in our waterways – if such mitigation ever happens.


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Michael Gove wants to kill remaining river life for the sake of house-builders’ profits

Michael Gove: he wants the UK’s rivers to be as dead as the area behind his blank-eyed stare.

The Tories have revealed the latest stage of their plan to reduce the United Kingdom to rubble by the time of the next general election – and it’s about harming our rivers again.

Having already filled England’s waterways – among others – with disease-carrying sewage, Housing Secretary Michael Gove is scrapping “nutrient neutrality” rules that mean local authorities should not approve any new development that may add to river nutrients such as phosphates and nitrates, through wastewater from new homes or run-off from building sites.

This could lead to a build-up of algae and other plants that could choke off aquatic life in our rivers.

Just have a think about that. The Tories announce a bonanza for house-building, then all the river life dies, with a knock-on effect that hits the whole UK eco-system. What good will a few extra homes do then?

It makes a hypocrite of Gove, who was talking up higher environmental standards in 2018:

Oh: Gove and the Tories are lying about the reason for doing it.

Builders say the current rules mean they have been forced to put 120,000 homes on hold – but it seems this is only because they don’t want to mitigate new nutrient loads caused by new populations in housing, onsite or elsewhere within the same catchment, by investing in new wetlands or by creating buffer zones along rivers and other watercourses.

Builders complained that doing so was costly and time-consuming; they delayed new housebuilding because the environmental protection they were being asked to implement would bite into their profits a bit, and take a bit of time to do. They never mention that not doing anything at all means an even longer delay.

Ministers launched a mitigation scheme in 2022 under which complaining builders were allowed to buy “credits” to gain approval for their schemes. They then complained that the process of purchasing such credits has occasionally led to unintended consequences like buying up farmland to take it out of use in an attempt to reduce water run-off.

So this is a plan to kill off the UK’s river life, for the sake of builders’ profits.

How absolutely, utterly despicable. It’s a new low for a government that may now best be compared to the most virulent, toxic disease you know.

As Katie-Jo Luxton, director of conservation at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said:

If nutrient neutrality rules are scrapped, pollution will accumulate unchecked and our rivers face total ecological collapse.

Total ecological collapse. That’s what Michael Gove (and Therese Coffey, the Environment Secretary who supports this lunacy) and, it seems, the UK house-building industry wants.


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‘Build, build, cut’? Or did Johnson simply announce continuation of Budget promise?

Caught out again: but if anyone demands clarity from Boris Johnson, isn’t this the best response we can hope to get?

Boris Johnson seems to have painted himself into a corner with his claim to be putting more money into building affordable homes.

Read this:

Boris Johnson’s claim to “build, build, build” his way out of the coronavirus pandemic was thrown into confusion amid claims that he appeared to have cut funding for affordable housing.

As he delivered a speech in Dudley, No.10’s website suggested that £12bn would be spent on housing over the next eight years – even though the Ministry of Housing said after the Budget in March that the same amount would be spent over five years.

The PM faced fresh claims that the Tory party was doing favours for its “housing developer mates” after he unveiled sweeping planning reforms to allow high street shops to be turned into housing.

A government spokesman insisted there had been no cut to funding and that the eight year timeframe was a reference to the delivery of the new homes, rather than the five-year allocation of cash for them.

“This is in line with what was announced at Budget – there has been no cut in funding or delay in delivery.”

If it’s in line with what was announced in the March Budget, then Johnson isn’t offering any extra money.

And in fact, it seems he’ll be giving cash to his “housing developer mates” to do cheap conversions of shops into housing.

So it seems clear that Johnson’s speech was, if not riddled with lies as such, at the very least misleading.

It’s what we’ve come to expect from the Tories – and from Boris Johnson in particular.

You can’t ever take him at his word.

Source: Johnson ‘Build, Build, Build’ Pledge Under Fire Amid ‘Cuts’ Confusion | HuffPost UK

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Rough sleeping up 134 per cent while UK’s richest increase wealth by 183 per cent and developers hog land for 130,000 homes


Compassionate Conservatism? It’s more like Conscious Cruelty!

Bearing in mind the fact that the UK is the sixth-richest country in the world, the following is a scandal in itself:

Want to argue with the statistics? The evidence is all around.

The moral of the story:

And that is the fact of the matter. Homelessness has more than doubled since 2010 because of the policies of the Conservative and Conservative-led government.

The Tories have squeezed wages and benefits to the point where people are unable to hold onto their homes; they go into debt and then they go out on the street.

But what else has been happening while all this has been going on?

See for yourself:

“The combined wealth of the richest 1,000 people in the UK has increased by 183 per cent over the past 10 years.

“As austerity continues to bite low-income households shocking figures show the wealthiest in society now rake in almost three times what they did in 2009.

“Ten years ago the wealthiest 1,000 people in Britain had a combined wealth of £256 billion, but the same cohort now sit on some £724 billion.

“The figures show that the pace of change has been ramped up notably over the past five years, which has seen wealth grow by £274 billion, and £66 billion in the past year alone.”

So impoverishing the masses is big business for the privileged few!

Ah, but all but the most destitute have managed to find a house to live in before now. What’s the difference today? Is it the fact that fewer homes are available for rent and there is a shortage of homes-to-buy, meaning the value of mortgages has gone through the roof, and help-to-buy is a club for people who are already wealthy?

Could be!

And if you’re concerned about the shortage of new houses, you’ll be furious about this:

“Developers are sitting on land for more than 130,000 homes in England that have never been built – the worst gap on record, according to new analysis.

“The analysis of housing ministry (MCHLG) figures showed that in 2016-17, planning permission for 313,700 new homes was given, but only 183,570 homes built, meaning a notional annual gap of more than 130,000 homes, the biggest divergence since records began in 2006.

“The percentage of homes built versus permission granted was just 58%, a rate that has been roughly steady since 2012.

“Landowners sell at a price that factors in a significant increase in value after obtaining planning consent, meaning a hectare of agricultural land worth £20,000 can sell for closer to £2m if it is zoned for housing. [But] developers regularly deny using land to speculate, arguing more profit can usually be made from building.”

It’s hard to believe that when developers are sitting on land and only building houses when they can be sure of a certain price. Land has always been a certain way to make money – and look how rich the richest people in the UK have become, while property prices go through the roof…

… And the number of people thrown onto the streets increases exponentially.

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Victory claimed in battle to save our forests

forest
Campaigning group 38 Degrees is claiming victory in the battle to save public land – including countryside and forests – from being handed over to private developers.
Vox Political quoted a report by blogger Tom Pride last month, which stated: “An innocuous sounding bit of legislation called the Infrastructure Bill is making its way through parliament with hardly a peep of protest from …. well, just about anyone really.

“Which is strange because the bill is about to give Government agencies carte blanche to hand over any public land – including countryside and forests – to private developers.”

Fortunately 38 Degrees leapt into action and a petition supporting the campaign to save our forests was signed more than 150,000 times within 24 hours.

In a statement on Facebook yesterday evening, the organisation told us: “The government was trying to sneak through plans which would have paved the way for our forests to be sold off. But at the very last minute, they backed down. They U-turned and made changes which will mean our forests are protected – in law. And together we played a huge part in that.

“For months, forest campaigners have been fighting for this. In the last 24 hours, over 150,000 of us signed a petition backing them. And we won.

“This latest petition has been the fastest growing 38 Degrees’ history. Today proves we’re still ready – ready to stand up to protect our forests. And that by working together we can It also proves how much power we have together.”

Now if only all those people would sign Vox Political‘s petition against George Osborne’s misleading ‘personal tax summaries’

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Bedroom tax condemns homes to demolition because they are too expensive for families

The obvious solution: The government should be helping build new social housing - not forcing the demolition of what little there is.

The obvious solution: The government should be helping build new social housing – not forcing the demolition of what little there is.

If the government really wants to make larger social accommodation available to overcrowded families, why are housing associations knocking them down?

They have to go because the Bedroom Tax has made them too expensive, according to The Guardian.

The story, published yesterday, is another nail in the coffin of Iain Duncan Smith’s credibility. It doesn’t matter how many polls the Conservatives produce to support their claim that people agree with them; in practice, it simply doesn’t work.

Housing associations are finding three-bedroomed properties impossible to maintain. They cannot let them out, sell them or keep up with the costs of keeping them while they are empty.

All of this has serious implications for the Coalition government that voted the Bedroom Tax onto the statute books as part of Mr ‘Returned To Unit’ Smith’s hugely unpopular – and now proving to be unworkable – Welfare Reform Act last year.

On Tuesday, MPs will debate the future of the Tax, when Labour members are expected to vote for its immediate repeal. Senior Liberal Democrats are also believed to have doubts – The Guardian (again) has quoted Danny Alexander’s father as saying it is “particularly unfair”.

Labour’s Rachel Reeves has overcome a shaky start in her role as shadow Work and Pensions Secretary to get right on-message with this. According to The Guardian report, she said: “This incompetent and out of touch government seems oblivious to the perverse and costly consequences of this unjust and unworkable policy.

“Not only is it hitting 660,000 vulnerable households, including 440,000 disabled people; the costs to the taxpayer are mounting as people are pushed into more expensive private rented accommodation while existing social homes are left vacant.”

Of course, Dear Reader, she’s right. You read it here first – all the way back in October last year.

Surely it makes more sense to have someone living in these properties, rather than losing them altogether? Does the government have an answer for this?

Apparently not. A government spokes-robot trotted out the same tired nonsense we’ve all come to despise: “The removal of the spare room subsidy is a necessary reform that will return fairness to housing benefit. We’ve been clear that hardworking people should not be subsidising tenants living in properties that are too large for their requirements.”

Let’s all remember that there never was a spare room subsidy for the government to remove. It never existed. Therefore its removal is not a necessary reform; it can never be vital to remove something that is fictional. Also, the removal of a fictional thing cannot restore fairness anywhere.

Hard-working people probably shouldn’t be subsidising tenants who are under-occupying, but then hard-working people were never the only ones paying for this to happen. Everybody in the UK pays taxes one way or another – even children.

And while we’re on the subject of what hard-working people subsidise, why is it bad for them to help people stay in the social housing that was originally allocated to them, but good for them to help massive corporations keep their payroll costs down by paying tax credits, housing benefit and council tax reduction costs for people earning less than the Living Wage? Why is it good for them to pay the cost of MPs’ energy bills as well as their own?

“Consent from the Homes and Communities Agency is required before any social housing provider can dispose of a site on which social housing stood and will ensure that public investment and the needs of tenants are protected,” the robot continued, but we should all know that this will be no obstacle.

Demolition of social housing means land becomes available for private developers to build new, luxury homes for the very rich.

That’s where the big money is.

Who can afford to buy or rent property in Britain now?

This bubble will burst: The Coalition government has engineered a recovery based on the false inflation of house prices and rents.

This bubble will burst: The Coalition government has engineered a recovery based on the false inflation of house prices and rents. It is bound to burst; the only questions are when – and who will be harmed by the fallout? [Picture: Haynesonfire blog]

Today the BBC reported that average private sector housing rents have hit a record high of £757 per month – just three days after the Corporation told us house prices have also hit a record high (averaging £247,000).

If you are an “average” UK earner (whatever that is), then your income has been cut by almost 10 per cent in the three years and five months since David Cameron became Prime Minister. Who can afford to rent at these prices? Who can afford to buy?

And is this the private rented accommodation that people affected by the Bedroom Tax were supposed to rent instead?

Are these the houses on which the government is going to underwrite 15 per cent of the mortgage in its ‘Help to Buy’ scheme? Already a(nother) huge housing bubble is growing and the debt crisis when it bursts will be appalling.

Meanwhile, everything costs a fortune and you have no money.

But somebody is buying. And somebody is renting.

Somebody rich, obviously.

“Higher rents in almost every region show that, despite government schemes, buying a first home is still a difficult aspiration,” the article quotes David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services.

“This is not only down to low salary growth, but also a general shortage of supply – which is the underlying reason why homes are getting more expensive. The long-term trend to renting therefore looks unlikely to change significantly in the near future.”

So the lack of house-building – either to buy or to rent – has proved lucrative for property developers and landlords. They don’t need to build any more if the value of their current buildings keeps rising. And nobody else can afford to build.

In the meantime, people in social housing are feeling the bite of the Bedroom Tax, with 50,000 families in danger of eviction because of it – putting pressure on local authorities who have to pay through the nose to put them into bed and breakfast accommodation instead.

Was this the Tory plan? To make things – the important things like housing and land – so expensive that only they and their friends could afford them? To push you into dependency by proxy?

And we didn’t see it coming?

Gosh.

At least nobody reading this voted for them. Anyone who did that must feel like a real chump now.