Something quick today. The government just blocked another attempt by Parliament and the Lords to block legislation aimed at making people worse off.
This time it was something that doesn’t seem that bad, on the surface.
The definition of Affordable and Starter homes.
Our caring and compassionate government has, as I’ve mentioned before, set the upper limit of Affordable Starter Homes as being £250,000 and £450,000 in London. Not exactly affordable to anyone on or even close to the average wage these days, but is it that important?
Well the government certainly think so, and so do I though for differing reasons. The government has used the same parliamentary trickery to push this through that they used with the £30 cut to ESA benefits, by declaring it as a matter of 'financial privilege' they significantly restrict any additional attempts to block it.
Meaning it’s likely to happen.
So why, I hear you ask, is this a problem.
Well when the government, some time ago, forced councils to sell off council housing to the tenants or to interested party’s (I.E. Landlords who buy them from the tenants) one requirement of that legislation was that the councils must permit the building of replacement housing on a one for one basis, where councils couldn’t afford to do so they would go to house building companies and get them to build the new houses.
Now the legislation included some limits on what could be built and included quotas on Starter and affordable homes that must be built as part of the replacement.
See the problem. That whole Affordable and Starter thing. It means that not only is there a legal requirement for councils to build or allow to be built, new homes to replace the council houses they are forced to sell but they can’t stop many of these new houses being built for moderately well off people or landlords, after all no one on under £40k can afford a £250,000 house.
Meaning that the people who actually need those affordable houses can’t begin to afford them, councils have no choice but to bring in outside companies because they can’t afford to build them and so in roll the big house builder corporations who can, correctly, point out that they are building ‘affordable’ homes under the governments definition of affordable.
Councils find themselves with whole estates of ‘Affordable’ housing that is so expensive only big landlords can afford to buy and then because it’s privately rented the councils have no choice but to pay that rent for social housing.
Just a little word and yet so destructive. Still at least the Tories didn’t stop landlords being legally required to ensure their rented properties are fit for human occupation.
Oh wait, they did.