Thursday 18 April 2013

Letter 104: Some sensible solutions for the UK housing crisis

"Dear Dave and Nick,
My daughter Bern, writes to you weekly. However, she has been in hospital recently and she asked me if I could to write to you in her stead. As I have 30 years of working for the community I'd like to concentrate on some of the news that has come out in the last few weeks in relation to housing issues in Liverpool and elsewhere.

First, some history; in the 1980s Liverpool City Council built new houses with money borrowed from Japanese banks. The Thatcher government decided that this would never happen again, and they decreed that from then on, all monies for house building would be given to the Housing Corporation, and in 1987, 47 Councillors were expelled.(Google 47 Liverpool Councillors for information).

It would appear that in Liverpool the wheel is turning full circle. With 70% of all housing in the lowest  council tax band there, before his successful election Mayor Joe Anderson's Manifesto included a promise to build 5,000 new houses with a large number of Brownfield sites earmarked for the project. ( Compare this to the situation in some boroughs in London which are being forced to decamp whole families away from neighbours, jobs, schools etcetera, I understand even as far away as Stoke on Trent due to the twin evil of high rents and the bedroom tax. 

In another development, the Mayor is also offering a pilot scheme, where the people of Liverpool can make application to buy a house for one pound. The successful bidder will be expected to take on a house in a run down area, bring it up to a good standard, and will be required to live in the house for three years. Initially it only covers 20 properties, but can be developed further ( Mayor Anderson cannot take all the credit for this project, as it has already been tried in Stoke on Trent, but for derelict houses there (

My question to you is, why, (with the cost of borrowing lower than it has been for many years) your government is not taking the opportunity to borrow monies at this rate to build the new houses that are so desperately needed (not only in London) in order to alleviate the extremely serious shortage of affordable housing  all around the country?

Allies to that, you may give serious consideration to dealing with the issue of high rents in the (private) housing sector

Yours sincerely, etc"

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