Local character is not nebulous, growth is nebulous. Local woodland is infinitely more valuable than a dispensary that lets us grow man-tits through frenzied palm-oil consumption. But because natural spaces aren’t monetisable products, economists find them incomprehensible. Growth is mandatory because of a system of debt-servitude, in which we keep having to expand and make money to finance an increasingly small number of peoples’ empty lifestyles, who can afford to buy their own private islands, who care about ‘local character’ insofar as it affects the atmosphere of their holiday resorts. Build houses over the golf courses and tell the oligarchs to play a sport that involves exercise. Everyone wins.
For a healthy society you need healthy families. This is adided by parks and green – but not so much of it that the people cannot afford housing to have families! And this is the current policy. It is part of the grand scheme to destroy the family – which is ALL to having a healthy society. Scenic bits of protected open land like Greenbelt are good and all – but not worth the destruction of the young being able to afford their home to have children and be the very backbone of society in every way.
Old, impoverished (not enough young people to pay their pensions and benefits because they could not afford a family), single, childless people looking over protected cow pasture is not better than the pasture gone and healthy families living in their own place with a bit of their own grass for the kids to play on.
Ah, the fashionable anti-growth nostrums of a few wealthy Western economists! Economic growth is the reason British citizens don’t have the same income as today’s Afghans – which they did only 100 years ago. Or indeed why China has taken more a billion people out of poverty. It is so easy to be disdainful of this when you are well off – and let’s be clear – everyone in the UK is well off compared to the abject poverty of the poorest people in the world.
Even here, the numbers and proportion of the poorest has been declined worldwide in recent decades – because of that terrible thing, economic growth.
We take for granted the benefits of economic growth, but we should perhaps not – it can be reversed and some of the extreme environmental movement’s policies would do precisely this, as of course they intend. The vast majority of opposition to development has nothing to do with protecting woodlands.
Whilst it’s incredibly trendy to produce articles like this that moan about ‘NIMBYs’ there is no serious analysis of whether the ‘failure to build enough houses’ is the real reason of our ‘economic malaise’ or our housing problem.
The UK built an average of more than 200,000 new houses per year during the first two decades of this century. LSE research suggests supply has actually outstripped demand.
The housing problem is that buy-to-let has become the best way of investing, so that the percentage of new homes that are rented rather than owner-occupied has grown from 16% to 30%. So blame the ‘HUTHOs’ (Homes Under The Hammer Opportunists’), and also those who have bought second homes for the lack of affordable housing.
And as for economic growth: we need to create decent jobs, especially in the de-industrialised regions where housing is cheap if we really want an economy that is sustainable and benefits all. Building houses is the economic equivalent of an energy drink: it produces a short term sugar rush but no long term nutritional benefit.
Increases in productivity and innovation lead to the kind of growth required, which in turn means better investment and saving opportunities than just property, which has been the only safe haven in two decades of low interest rates. (not for me, I hasten to add – the only house I own is my home, there is an over-supply where I live and prices in my street have gone down)
Absolutely. The problem is that building houses doesn’t in itself produce increases in productivity and innovation.
We need to get more investment into manufacturing, especially hi-tech; this has also become glaringly obvious because of the supply chain problems that emerged during the pandemic.
And we also need to create the right kind of growth: it has to be more equitable and sustainable. It’s quite possible for per capita GDP to increase steadily whilst swathes of the population experience poverty and economic insecurity. In fact that’s pretty much what happened from the early ’90s until 2008.
House prices AND rents are sky high, not only in London (excepting perhaps areas of very poor economic performance, where there are few prospects). This is as clear an indication as you could get of demand outstripping supply. Renting isn’t intrinsically bad, though perhaps too much of the sector being in short term private individual hands doesn’t provide enough security, for say a young family.
No especially when they keep wanting to increase the rent. Basingstoke has vast council estates so everyone who cnnot afford private do get housed. Even the people on the street have been cleared out and given places to live. When the houses are built they are quickly filled. I wonder if they come from somewhere else.
Taking a single word as a political slogan is silly. Tony Blair had Education ( repeatedly three times ) Liz Truss apparently believes in “Growth”. Presumably she means an increase in GDP. This wouldn’t necessarily lead to an improvement in the living standards of most people if the mechanism for increasing GDP was importing more people or selling piles of crumbling bricks to each other for larger amounts of money. We need a better measure of economic improvement. There is a old business saying “turnover is vanity profit is sanity”.
It’s growth in GDP per capita that should be measured. The left always take credit for the growth under the last Labour government, yet when you look at GDP per capita growth, those figures are not so good.
Blairs increase in GDP was largely based on immigration, Thatchers increase was due to women entering the workforce in large numbers for the first time. Neither of them improved the living standards of the working classes
The increase in women at work didn’t increase until the last 3 years of the Thatcher government.The first years of her term in office saw a decrease.
So true! And the third horseman generating GDP has of course been the monster property bubble. This did enrich a propertocracy – millions of Londoners and SE Englanders saw 300k bricks turn into million pounds gold over a decade. No cries for any taxation of these huge gains we note. Remainiacs are Gollums – it was fear that Brexit or any assault on the status quo would steal the precious Ring that lay at very core of their derangment. It was naked self interest! The scelorotic bloated vested interests that have grown during the 20 year Zero Interest era are plainly way more powerful than the ruling Executive. Theor challenge to the staus quo was anuffed out on day q! See how Kwazi is today scrambling to try and stop mortgage rises!! The Property God rules the roost. And it is Net Zero and eco madness that has similarly supplanted the very idea of growth through private enterprise. Read up on degrowth. The problems are systemic and way bigger and deeper than this good article suggests.
I think the phrase working classes is outdated. Most people working do reasonably. It’s those who won’t work that are looked on as working class even though they don’t work.
Do you mean the last Tory government?
GDP is a useless measure since it includes government spending.
Productivity and innovation, gross value added per person etc are what leads to a more prosperous society, which is what is needed for better welfare provision, a point that leftists never seem to absorb.
NODAM is an apter acronym than NIMBY. (No Development After Mine)
Or the Green’s BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone [except wind turbines, obv])
Can you imagine the Acropolis, Mont St Michel or even the Sydney Opera House getting planning permission these days?
She certainly has to tackle the NIMBYs of all political stripes.
But it’s gonna take a lot of backroom negotiating.
Reading the heading and sub-heading I almost skipped thinking this was one of the occasional leftie clickbait articles on this website but this is the absolute truth.
There is no guarantee that Labour will do any different. The Lib Dems definitely won’t. Most MPs are small time property speculators as they usually own two homes, one in London and one in their constituency. How many of them are going to vote to make themselves poorer or even bankrup?
Thanks. Good article, compelling argument
I see no evidence that changes in government policy have much influence on GDP, growth or productivity: they are determined by the rest of us – as businesses and consumers. Nor do I see the need to prioritise ‘growth’. We are, by global and historical standards, a more than comfortably prosperous society (though the riches are not always put to the best use). And if growth gives us a few extra pounds per year per head, so what?
In contrast, there are economic variables that can have a serious impact on peoples lives, and where government policy can really make a difference: inflation and interest rates are the current issues, but there’s also government debt, poverty, inequality, the quality of public services and care for the environment.
‘Growth’ is a chimera. There are real issues that can and should e addressed.
Two different kinds of growth. For Tories it’s a broad economic term. The author conflates that with a very local campaign against more government-built housing. Why the deception?
Of course they are the Anti-growth party. They left the biggest Single Market in the world generating a 5.2% fall in GDP and a 13% fall in investment.
And if your economy is smaller you either have to cut services (having promised no more austerity) or tax people more (having promised tax cuts). Doh!! So there you go – 3 massive contradictions by the party and it’s more to the right supporters who’ve been talking codswallop for years with the help of their right-wing media chums.
There was one opportunity to balance Brexit with Growth and it involved a soft Brexit. The stupidity in not grasping that at the time, also recognising that there was no mandate for hard Brexit, esp in NI and Scotland, beggared belief then and one hopes is smacking these clowns roundly in the face now.
Check out Gammon’s latest video on the BofE and the QE tar-Pit UK is mired in
”Bank Of England Hints At Another Repo Market Collapse”
So this Friday is the day of Fate for Truss – this is when we see if her act in haste, repent in leisure, is to be the biggie, and all the dam of recession burst…
Friday is the last day of her QE…. haha – or is it? She set a train in motion two Fridays ago – and as it is coming down the mountain the brakeman has an impossible job ahead…
And here is his one last week – and you should know, Gammon does not worry of UK – but just that Truss drove it from QT to QE in a week was so astounding he had to cover it….Like he said – everyone wondered who would crack first – which Central Bank would return to QE from QT – and it was BofE…
”UK Is On The Brink Of Collapse!! What Happens Next?”
The mantra of growth growth growth is a rhetorical tool to highlight that the private sector is the wealth producer and the public sector is the wealth consumer.
The anti-growth coalition is largely the public sector and the third sector that either want UK government handouts or EU handouts. The latter without UK democratic accountability.
The greatest crime of Truss brief and doomed reign will be the way she allowed the Blob, the remainiacs, the Left and its attack dog BBC to successfully make the word ‘growth’ and the idea of enterprise a dirty word. Growth and enterprise are..or were..our only hope of escape from the Money Tree Zero Zombie Socialist state we have become. But their folly in timing and communication left an open goal for the hysterical defenders of this sickly Orthodoxy. At least we know that it is doomed too. And the doom loop will take the wretched Labour down with it in 2024 or before.
The UK _is_ building new houses, at least 200,000 a year I believe. But illegal immigration is increasing the population faster than the new houses can keep up! So building at a faster rate will simply allow the Government to let in even more immigrants, which they seem to have an unfathomable insatiable urge to encourage, whatever they pretend otherwise.
In any case, house building is traditionally the “poor man’s” approach to growth, adopted by former thirld world countries as their first step to increasing prosperity. So it is shameful and pitiful that a supposedly advanced country like the UK is reduced to relying on this for that purpose!
Is it not the case that we don’t have actually a lack of accommodation – rather, housing and house price inflation is a major element of our zombie economy? I believe, like De Beers, property are developers are asset hoarding (most PPs remain unbuilt, unused) to keep prices high by restricting supply.
When Liz Truss talked about growth I don’t think she was talking about building houses. With regard to Basingstoke where I live building has gone on here like there is no tomorrow. I have seen woods and fields dug up all around. The council benefits by receiving a lot of money from builders. The largest field in Basingstoke and Hampshire is set to be another big housing estate. As for job creation companies will move to where the people are and are doing so in Basingstoke but the economy itself is not growing. Our hotels are full of assylum seekers, some genuine some not. That must restrict business as people will find it harder to find a hotel anywhere for business stopovers. Yes the people have had enough building going on here. It will still go on but they have registered their concerns at the pace of it. I was encouraged that Liz wanted economic growth after nearly three years of growth being shut down by the tories because of Covid. It is a shame that Truss resigned and couldn’t stand up to her critics. Now we have WEF member Sunak who seems to want to destroy the country in all sorts of ways by crippling taxes etc. not to mention the global warming deception leading to food and fuel crisis. It has been described as anti human environmentalism which is what it is in reality.