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Over recent days, a Blog 'Britain is no longer Well Housed' has been put up on this web-site.

First an explanation of the problem and its principal causes.

Then thirteen proposals to solve the problem.

 

But... there is no such thing as a Free Lunch is there?

If we determined to take these thirteen actions, many would be winners............ but....... some would be losers.

Who would they be?

 

Building Developers would no longer be able to make vast profits by buying land at farm land prices; spend about £150k on construction and see sales at the top side of £600k.

Private landlords (in particular ones who 'domicile' their holdings outside the UK)  would see their profits diminished and fully taxed - wherever their property interests were legally held.

A little green belt would be sacrificed; but hopefully very little of special cultural value.

 

Are these a cost that would be worthwhile to most of us?

 

Hell Yes!

Britain...well housed; Pt III - Who Would Loose?

Over recent days, a Blog 'Britain is no longer Well Housed' has been put up on this web-site. First an explanation of the problem and its principal causes. Then thirteen...

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Last week, we put up 'Britain is no longer Well Housed' - with Reasons Why and the Principal Causes.

Please can we now consider how a Labour Government in Downing Street could tackle this massive problem:

Thirteen Proposals:

Mass-build more houses; quality houses; most for Council House Schemes; on an industrial scale (so: millions)... using compulsary purchase to acquire land at farm land prices.
 
Reduce the Local Plan Horizon in half; …so from 2031 to 2023.
Instill a 'Do it Now; Do it Right' mentality.
 
Allow construction to be financed by Council Offered Fixed Interest Securities. (Such as… Welwyn Hatfield Housing 2% Fixed Interest Bonds,  2036-2041). These loans would effectively be underpinned by the value of the properties built. Like a Mortgage; but much more cost effective.
 
Create a 'National Infastructure Bank'; funded by Central Government Issue of Gilts; from which Councils could take loans.
This is an idea that seems to be gaining general credence for wider infastructure purposes
 
Probably the most contentious; change the balance of Green Belt preservation
Give a bit less  'respect' to the Green Belt - subject to even greater 'respect' and encouragement for quality building schemes (visual, construction standard, green principled building extent and fully adequate local infastructure).
 
Retain much of the resulting additional new build volume in public ownership - Council House schemes -  (thus do not increase the open market housing supply; protect existing house values).
This could be managed best at a local level - so by Region, County or Borough as folk preferred.
 
Cease any requirement for the proceeds of council house sales to be remitted to central Government (UK Treasury). Retain them in full in local schemes to finance house construction or purchase.
 
Severely restrict 'Right-to-buy':   
Make sales at Market Price; perhaps less a few percent - recognizing that estate agent fees could be avoided; and the legal process probably simplified a bit.
 
If any sale had been made at less than Market Price, require a minimum post-sale retention and occupancy period of at least five years without any Capital Gains Tax Liability
If that condition was not met, then tax the underlying Capital Gain (after purchase prices has been adjusted for house price inflation at a local level)  at 100% for at least five years - with the proceeds passed onto the original selling Council House Scheme.
Back date this taxation to all Right-to-buy sales made after 2015
 
Charge rents on council houses at a reducing rate; starting off at current rental rates; then reducing by a modest % (such as 1% or 2% pa) down to a level that still generated a profit to Councils of at least 10% of cost -  that could be used to pay off the underlying loans and fund further construction and/or open market purchases. Let Councils themselves decide exactly how much and when.
 
Establish or massively expand Building Skill colleges on an industrial scale throughout the UK.
Subsidize their operating costs from Central Government.
Encourage young architects, interior designers, equipment designers and installers, plumbers and actual builders as fully as we can.
 
Require /Instal Solar and/or Heat Exchange (including Earth Core Heat Extraction) functionality on all new builds - with minimal discretion to avoid.
Re-incentivize the installation of such kit in existing houses.
 

Establish high volume efficient solar energy battery production capabilities in the UK. Make production available to Councils at cost (to store surplus electricity). Feed such electricity into the National Grid at cost plus a small admin mark-up.

Interestingly; the Sunday Times of September 11, 2016 reported that the mass installation of such batteries in UK homes could enable the country to avoid building the (very expensive) nuclear power stations (Hinckley; Bradwell, etc) at vast cost using foreign capital and abilities.  This sounds like a VERY GOOD IDEA.

 
Require all tenants to deduct tax at 20% (or the current UK Corporation Tax rate if higher or lower) from rent payments and remit it to the UK Inland Revenue - with no exception.
That way, no offshore landlord would benefit from any low-tax requirements of their particular bolt-hole.
UK Taxpayers (or foreign entities who operate acceptable Housing Accounts in the UK with no offsets allowable for foreign interest payments, intellectual rights payments, management fees or any purchases/other services from affiliates at inflated prices) would be able to claim a tax refund that reflected the expenses of maintaining the properties - so would not be in any worse position than they are today.
And the tax 'take' would fully stay in the UK.
This tax take could also be largely directed to the Councils (or Housing Associations) where the underlying properties were located - to further improve their Council House programmes

Britain...well housed; Pt II - Some Solutions

Last week, we put up 'Britain is no longer Well Housed' - with Reasons Why and the Principal Causes. Please can we now consider how a Labour Government in Downing...

 

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Current Housing cost levels; in much of the UK; are a Disadvantage to our whole economy.
 
UK Housing often costs far more than the underlying costs of house construction (that is the labour, materials and basic land cost)
By comparison, Housing in most of the USA usually only costs the underlying direct construction plus land priced at a faming/utility rate (so: you would pay about £150k for a  4 bedroom family house with plenty of living space)
 
As a result of this situation, UK wage and salary costs have been driven up by the need for staff to earn enough to enable them to pay for their inflatedly priced housing.

This situation makes much of the UK uncompetitive compared to most of the rest of the World for any manufacturing or services that could be undertaken cross-border (such as programming, design) - unless we have a very strong quality or design advantage.

 

The Root Cause is that Housing Demand is greater than Housing Supply….. We have not built enough new homes over recent years, recent decades.
 
A careful cautious approach would have to be taken to dealing with the underlying causes; but the six principal ones are these:
 
Green Belt protection; valuable though it certainly is;  has been given more credence than family housing needs
 
Many large house development and building concerns have 'sat on' hundreds of thousands of approved planning consents to maintain and/or drive up prices (…….because doing this causes housing supply to fall even further behind housing demand).
 
Foreign interests are allowed; and encouraged; to purchase UK housing assets; often simply for investment purposes.
 
UK Councils have been seriously discouraged from operating Council House schemes.
 
Right-to-buy' rights; together with UK Treasury proceed grabs; have reduced housing stocks.
 
A wide-spread belief that increasing house prices are good for us. 
    They are not if an ever-growing proportion of the population cannot find anywhere decent to live.
    or if an ever growing proportion of our housing stock is owned by foreign landlords.
    Taking second mortgages - based on increased house values - in order to buy fashionable tat from the Far East and posh car badges was never a very sensible idea.
    But…. We do need to be very careful not to endanger the value of existing housing on the open market - so as not to damage home owners or their mortgage lenders

 

Should the next Labour Government tackle all this head-on?

Britain is no longer well housed - Pt 1 The Problem

  Current Housing cost levels; in much of the UK; are a Disadvantage to our whole economy.   UK Housing often costs far more than the underlying costs of house...

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