I was reading the local Tory blog, the rather dishonestly titled “Residents First” (I won’t link to the blog), and was amused to see that the Council is going to build “25 new homes”. Not homes for rent, you understand, but properties to buy. This is because,
The council announced last year that it would be establishing its own local housing company in order to directly provide new affordable homes for the first time in 30 years to help local residents get onto the property ladder and help create a Borough of Opportunity.
Ah, the “Borough of Opportunity”. It has a nice ring to it. Don’t you agree? Well, no, not when you consider that the opportunities, which the ruling Tory group are alluding to, will go to their chums in the construction industry. Yes friends, it’s opportunity knocks for Wates and McAlpine!
The Tories assure us that other councils are doing the same thing,
Westminster, Islington and Wandsworth Councils are also pursuing similar approaches to better utilising council assets in order to build new affordable housing.
Two of those councils are Tory-controlled and one is Labour-controlled. So what does that tell us? It tells us that lessons haven’t been learnt: not everyone can afford to buy a shoebox flat in a disused health centre; some people prefer to rent and besides, wasn’t the property bubble partly responsible for the economic crisis? Well, they don’t seem to think so. By the way, the government is behind this HomeBuy nonsense. The government is implacably opposed to the building of more council homes and wants to drive even more people into debt by saddling them with mortgages on properties that, in all likelihood, they will never be able to sell. The government has also reintroduced the disastrous Right to Buy (RTB), which led to the current housing shortage.
While the Tories crow about their fantastic plan to build a mere 25 homes in the borough, council rents have been increased. That old cliché, “Robbing Peter to pay Paul” seems eerily apposite.
Housing crisis? What housing crisis? Excuse me while I stick my head in the sand.