I read with interest Maria Caufield’s epistle on “Housing for All”. Although one can but applaud her efforts, it did really sound like a piece of Tory propaganda.
What has to be recognised of course is that a house, in our kind of society, is not simply a place to live in but a commodity to be bought and sold for profit.
So, not surprisingly, what do we find? 1) Many houses lying empty; 2) Rich people owning several houses, one near their workplace, one in a leafy suburb, and one in rural Wales (or elsewhere) for a summer retreat; 3) Super rich people like the landed gentry, wealthy bankers, billionaires (many from abroad) and over-paid celebrities owning huge mansions with enough land to house several families; 4) Over the last decade or more houses being built purely for the rich, and even the concept ‘affordable housing’ becomes something of a misnomer, as ordinary mortals on a living wage certainly cannot afford to buy such houses; 5) people - rentiers - owning many houses for which they charge high rents and keep their costs low - thus we have families living in a single room, and people living in the most squalid conditions, (according to the Government many landlords are simply ‘rogues’) not forgetting the scams around letting agencies highlighted by Maria, and finally 6) we have the spectacle of many homeless families in poverty and people sleeping rough on the streets.
If housing was distributed more equitably there would be no housing shortage. What we need is more support for local government who provide us with services (rather than relying on charities), and more social housing – free of exploitation by rentiers – for those who cannot afford to buy a house.
The poverty and housing crisis that the Tories now highlight and bewail, was of course, actually caused by the Government’s own policy of subsidising the rich and neglecting - even penalising - the poor. The Tories (and Maria) pretending to be the new workers party is an absolute farce.