Housing – problems and false solutions in the UK

This video is useful:


However the video repeats the myth that Britain is a “rich country”. Yet those “riches” are based on a ‘three-planet economy’, one that is draining the life out of the ecological foundations on which all wealth rests. Those same “riches” also depend on exploitation of poorer peoples in sweatshop economies.

Shrinkage to a one-planet economy, the only sustainable option, and a fair sharing of the world’s limited resources, would reduce economic ‘wherewithal’ in Britain for housing programmes and much more. Large-scale projects tend to mean quantity at the expense of quality, as was seen in Britain’s biggest house building boom, Macmillan’s “great housing crusade” (which also exceeded council house construction by labour governments)

The video also neglects to say where any new housing might be built so a resulting construction programme could easily exacerbate urban sprawl, eat up farmland and wildlife habitat, disrupt local hydrology, increase commuting and car traffic, in turn exacerbating air pollution… It might be remembered that some brownfield sites have become wildlife havens.

The video does not make the point that there is no building shortage, only a shortage of affordable high quality accommodation. In other words, the re are plenty of buildings that are empty, under-used or wasted on uses for which there is no conceivable real social need. Their recycling ought to be a major priority.

We also need a drive to reduce the scale of student bedsit land, restoring those properties to family use as was the case not that long ago. Public monies should back initiatives such as: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-14865079. To be fair, many students like to sample ‘independent’ living. But such ‘experimenting’ brings all sorts of problems for neighbours and in any case the needs of those without decent accommodation must come first.

Last but not least the final four demands are rather vacuous. Nothing is said about measures to make them happen. A mention of land value tax might have helped (see, for example: http://www.andywightman.com/docs/LVT_england_final.pdf)

We should all be able to afford a home in an area we want to live. But for many of us in the UK, with prices spiralling way beyond incomes, this isn’t a real…