The Actual crisis in housing, and the Best Way to Resolve it
Finding ingenious approaches to help would-be homeowners on the housing ladder has been the major thrust of home policy, says Gaby Hinsliff. However, as a Covid-induced depression looms, the focus should now switch to a different group: individuals who can not afford even to lease. In precarious times gone by, council home gave poor families security: but that was when almost a third of Britons lived in social housing. Now, as a consequence of the right to buy, introduced by Margaret Thatcher, the amount is nearer in six. That is why enterprising cities like Bristol have recently been snapping up cheap properties from overextended programmers. But with proper government financing, more could be done in order to increase the council house distribution. For #1.3bn –“about what the Treasury has just spent a stamp duty cut” — specialists reckon councils could purchase another 42,000 council homes in what is likely shortly to be a miserable market. It would be money well spent. By siphoning money to landlords through home bene?ts, the state is already effectively”buying” housing. But this manner, it could secure some actual assets and restore run-down neighbourhoods.