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Peter Francis
Peter Francis
2 months ago

When, in 1942, Beveridge envisaged that “every citizen” should have decent housing, he did not have in mind the situation that we are in today. Each year there is net inward migration of about a quarter of a million and 50,000 new asylum applications to add to the 600,000 illegal immigrants already here. Housebuilding for “every citzen” is only a problem because the government refuses to honour its election pledge to control immigration.

Chris W
Chris W
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

If you read history of times before William the Conqueror, writers speak of the movements of very large numbers of people. Movements are caused by wars when people are forced out of their homes, or by relative poverty.
When there have been movements there has always been intermarriage. Sometimes the incoming tribe has been stronger than the existing one. Nobody has ever stopped these movements.
In general, the old culture had gone to sleep and people had become diverted from action and dynamism to inaction and laziness. In general, the incoming peoples have had more energy, been willing to work harder for less recompense, been less diverted by games, shows and trivia (like hairstyles, self-beauty, clothes) and have just done the basics – the basics for life.

So what is new today?

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris W

Not sure why the downvotes.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
2 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Natives are necessarily lazy…

Barry Stokes
Barry Stokes
2 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

No, nor me. Seems a perfectly reasonable line of argument.

Bruce V
Bruce V
2 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

The website needs 4 icons: up/down on whether you agree if the logic and facts presented are correct; and up/down on whether it’s a direction or sentiment you agree with and want society to move towards or resist against. The current binary choice muddles the domains.   

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
2 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

The original article is about housing and my post was also about housing. So I guess the downvotes are because Chris W did not address the point of my post. Rather, he made the lazy assumption that I am against all immigration (a false assumption, incidentally) so that he could repeat well-aired arguments trotted out by the pro-immigration lobby.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

You can’t know that based on what he wrote. I didn’t take it that way, and I basically agreed with your comment. I didn’t have a problem with either one of them.

John Ramsden
John Ramsden
2 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Perhaps because in making his corny point about past waves of immigration, invariably wheeled out by its virtue-signalling defenders, Chris W overlooked the fact that each such wave led to century after century of conflict and oppression.

The only long-term benefit of past warfare resulting from mass immigrations was to weld the country into a single unit, just as English warfare with places like Scotland and France did for them over the course of the Middle Ages. But as the nations of the UK are already united entities, further conflict would lack even that dubious benefit and in the short to medium term would more likely do the opposite!

Last edited 2 months ago by John Ramsden
Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 month ago
Reply to  John Ramsden

I downvoted that only for “corny”.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 month ago
Reply to  John Ramsden

If you think that we are not at the beginning of a vast wave of immigration, whether we like it or not, then I fear that you and millions of others are in for a rough awakening. That doesn’t mean I like that fact – I certainly do not; I agree with your closing remark – but fact it remains.

Last edited 1 month ago by Phil Rees
Rob J
Rob J
1 month ago
Reply to  John Ramsden

There’s definitely been a lot of immigration (X) and a lot of conflict (Y) over the past many centuries. But it’s at least questionable whether this is simple X–>Y, with immigration deserving all the causal (dis)credit. One objection might be that Y–>X — conflict has been probably the biggest mover of people, within and between countries. Another (in my view more potent) objection is that both immigration and conflict are just inevitable features of human society. Waves of immigration were followed by conflict but were also preceded by conflict and so it goes on. The risk is mistaking correlation for causation when the ultimate cause is, erm, human life and interaction.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris W

But, at the time of William the Conqueror (or. to give him his original sobriquet William the B*st*rd) that was not all true. England was a vibrant and wealthy country, and, although the Godwinsons had caused trouble, internally it was relatively peaceful. It was external threats, admittedly also involving a losing Godwinson, that was the downfall, that and some bad decisions on the battlefield.

Michael Davis
Michael Davis
1 month ago

2 invasions by different people at the same time indicates that all was not quite as placid as you assert

R Wright
R Wright
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris W

The Romans controlled tribal migration for centuries, until they didn’t. The Western Roman Empire collapsed a few decades later.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 month ago
Reply to  R Wright

Well, it was a little more complicated than that. Why didn’t they control migration at that point? As I recall it had to do with them outsourcing their military operations to the barbarians so they (the upper crust) could concentrate on staying home enjoying their crustiness. They got fat, corrupt and lazy.

J. Hale
J. Hale
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris W

Well obvious what’s new is the issue of race. When Normans bred with Anglo-Saxons the offspring were white, the same was true for ancient Britons. But now the differences in ethnic groups are visible, and that brings out tribal instincts unsuited for the 21st century.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 months ago
Reply to  J. Hale

This is a very good point. “Tribal” instincts have been good survival instincts, and it is more difficult to ignore these instincts when the “tribes” look different from each other. However, this doesn’t mean that we should not try to over-ride instincts that are not as useful as they once were; it takes effort, but I don’t think that we do too badly in this country. What we don’t need are those who try to ensure that we are divided into “tribes”, thus undoing the good work of the past.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 month ago

Exactly. We have to to coexist in state-sized collections of people. Tribes only work up to a hundred or so people.
Jared Diamond describes in GGS how in New Guinea when two strange men meet in the forest they have a lengthy conversation trying to figure out if they have any relatives in common (they – like nearly every tribe the world has ever seen are exogamous) – no matter how distant. Because if they can’t find any relatives in common they have no reason not to try to kill each other. Interviews with women there (by anthropologists) invariably go through a series of husbands they had, where the first one was killed in a raid, the next one killed by so-and-so who desired her, then he was killed by one of so-and-so’s brothers who then took her as his wife, and so on. This is tribal life the world over. We don’t want to go back there. It’s not anything like Rousseau envisioned (or Marx, for that matter).

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeff Cunningham
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 months ago
Reply to  J. Hale

Even then they still had to ethnically cleanse the North.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrying_of_the_North#The_Harrying

John Ramsden
John Ramsden
2 months ago

It wasn’t ethnic cleansing, but mostly an unfortunate military necessity to deny the area to the Scots and Vikings while King William was struggling to suppress a revolt in Maine (France), diehard Saxon rebels, the Welsh, and even Irish pirates kidnapping people in the South West to sell into slavery (which King William abolished in England). One can only fight on so many fronts at once.

Last edited 2 months ago by John Ramsden
odd taff
odd taff
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris W

What is new today? A welfare state, the obligation of local authorities to house and feed migrates. Your migrating tribes pre conquest didn’t expect to be housed and feed. In a nutshell a welfare state and open borders are incompatible.

Andrew F
Andrew F
2 months ago
Reply to  odd taff

Yes, I think Clinton adviser said that.
You can either have European wealthare state or open borders.
You can not have both.
Idea that you can import low IQ savages from 3rd world and maintain European culture and standard of living is nonsense.
What globalisation and mass immigration supporters deny is the basic fact regarding housing: supply and demand.
They don’t care because they want to destroy Western Civilisation.
What most Tory supporters ignore, is the basic fact that people without chance of having capital (in most cases home), will vote for parties which will penalise capital.
When home ownership drops below 50% (20 years on current trends) , there will be huge demand for socialist policies of confiscation of wealth.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
1 month ago
Reply to  odd taff

You are entirely right. What also tends to be missing from Western Commentators thinking on migration is the simple issue of economic relativism.
If you speak to Black South Africans, Buddhist Mynamars, and White Swiss they all offer the same conversation point. The incomers that take their work, despite the migrator’s deprivations however small or large are far better off and have more opportunities than where they have migrated from. Western commentators seem unable to consider they are not dragged to their destination they seek it. The commentators look at it through the bottom of their Latte.

Last edited 1 month ago by Michelle Johnston
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris W

Relief from relative poverty and war in Europe were of no consolation to the Cherokee or Lakota. They should have scapled every white devil when they had the chance.
Where there have been movements of people in history there have always been winners and losers and there has always been violence.
“Laziness and inaction” about our current replacement stems from people like you and your luxury beliefs, mobilising the modern total-state to bring about the conditions where fathers are arrested trying to rescue their captive daughters from sex slavery.
https://www.rotherham.gov.uk/downloads/file/279/independent-inquiry-into-child-sexual-exploitation-in-rotherham
Article 5.9

I can only hope when the money printer runs out and we regress to the historical mean, that what you are so brazenly indifferent to see inflicted on the bottom of our society, is returned to you and yours in kind. Enjoy your cheap labour in Pret while it lasts.

William Cameron
William Cameron
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris W

wrong. Never before has there been a 20% population increase of an extra 10m people in so short a time- thats just since 2000.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris W

The idea that England was a land of mass migration before modern times is almost entirely false, though it is very easy to see why it is inexorably insisted upon by those people who essentially believe in open borders.

A few thousands Normans, Bretons etc. Then, in the 1690s, an admittedly large but one-off influx of Hugenots. There is absolutely nothing to compare with the current phenomenon of record numbers of migrants entering the country year on year.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris W

People shouldn’t downvote someone’s comment just because they don’t like what it says, IMO. If it is an intellectually honest comment and not being abusive, it should at least be considered and not buried to the bottom of the pile with downvotes. Otherwise these comments just turn into a chorus singing for itself.
The book, “Who We Are, Where We Come From” by David Reich, makes the migratory case of Chris W’s in great detail, all the way back to the beginnings of humanity using DNA evidence. We may not like it, but we’re talking about what are facts. It’s foolish to ignore them.
And there was an article recently – based, again, on DNA evidence – that people who migrate to distant lands have a higher percentage of genes associated with risk-taking, compared to those who stay behind. People have believed this for as long as I’ve been alive and now there’s even DNA evidence to back it up.

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris W

I dont think the UK has ever had a 20% population increase in 20 years in years past- it has now.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris W

Why all those downvotes for an excellent insightful comment?

Victor Whisky
Victor Whisky
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

there’s always plenty of money for war.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

It is more than that, it is the unaffordability of houses, and in the cities the building of shoebox size flat with no outlook. Houses have become unaffordable because low interest rates and borrowing in relation to income increasing to unacceptable levels. The recent BBC programme featured one woman with an interest repayment only loan. What was the point of that? She had just been handing her money over to the bank for years and ended up with nothing to show for it. The bankers are as irresponsible as the government.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

But the interest rates are low because of the central bank acting in concert with the government. Without the “cheap” money, the consumer economy would collapse and the mega-rollover recssion (depression) we’ve been kicking down the road for 25 years would ensue. And no government would survive such a fall in standards of lving.
We as a people, and as shaped by our media masters, we refuse to take our medicine and the longer we leave it, the worse it will be.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Housing has become a gambling focus the world over which inevitably leads to overvaluing – and no govts have had the gonads to stop this – because they were making a fortune themselves and would be voted in by the haves . Look at what happened in france when the bread ran out – maybe it just needs someone to say ‘let them eat cake ‘ for the mayhem to start ?? Lots of murder and mayhem starting in good old NZ even.

Andrew F
Andrew F
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

That is only partially true.
If you build 200k houses a year but you allow 500k immigrants in, you will have housing shortage, thus increasing prices, regardless of level of interest rates.
Problem is that people owning houses benefit from the system, regardless of long term consequences.

Jonathan H
Jonathan H
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Net migration has never been 500,000 until 2021/2. It has been unprecedentedly large in the last 2 decades.
59 million in 2001 to 68 million in 2021/2.
Around 50-100,000 more born than die each year, as well, usually, recently
https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/articles/impactofbirthsanddeathsonukpopulationchange/2020.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

Stop blaming immigrants…There are plenty empty houses in the UK. I worked with homeless people for over 20 years during the 80s, 90s and noughties. There are many reasons for people being homeless but with careful management of the housing stock in this country and a moratorium on building houses to buy, only the very vulnerable would be left without a home of their own and could be homed in supported accommodation. But no government will make that decision because that is a socialist notion, which “the people” won’t want and we have not had a socialist government no matter what colour the party in power.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
2 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

I am not blaming immigrants. I am blaming the government.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

Heck why all the downvotes – tis only common sense !

Andrew F
Andrew F
2 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

You are a moron.
I was born in your communist paradise and most people waited 20 years for council flat (one bedroom for family of 4), unless you were communist party functionary or security service employee.
Why do not you emigrate to Cuba, Venezuela or North Korea?

Last edited 2 months ago by Andrew F
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Thanks for dealing with the useless idiot.

Jonathan H
Jonathan H
2 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

Depends what you mean by plenty. Estimates vary but 650,000 is perhaps about right.
Not trivial, but not enough to rectify 40 years of not building enough to match population growth (and more recent interest rate reduction).

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

I just read the newly-released immigration figures. The new statistic is double the net inward migration figure given in my original post.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
2 months ago

If you double the population of Britain, but increase housing supply by say, 50%, the price of housing will increase drastically. The businesses seeking cheaper labor neglect the other side of the coin – where their “cheaper labor” will live.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
2 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Correct. The unsustainable 2 decade era of the urban metro propertocracy is about to end. Millions of Londoners living in 300k home in 95 saw it turn into a 1.5m asset a decade later – all unearned all untaxed – because of a near criminally rigged scam. Allow 600000 new people to enter UK every year (stop talking net!!!) but do not build any houses for them!!! The magic formula to make bricks earn 100k a year!! An economic revolution which puts the French aristocracy to shame has taken place. This new wealth (boosted by QE) saw this asset rich class turn their backs on the underclass and native welfarism and turn vicious in defence of their property heroin in the Brexit Wars. Well Lockdown has blown it all up. The fruits will be far more than bitter. But our entire Establishment – venal corrupt – have been complicit in this pop/prop game since the 90s. So there is no force which can stop the Reckoning.

Debbie Willmot
Debbie Willmot
2 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I’m sure there are many people who would be happy for their house to fall in value. Those that live in them that is. The answer has always been for house prices to fall but there are other factors that affect houses going up in value. Namely second home ownership, Air BnBs, Buy to let mortgages etc. All housing in my daughter’s village in N Wales is snapped up for Air BnBs before locals can bid. Imagine the squealing from the people who have a vastly inflated asset but are still paying a mortgage. In the 80s the problem was temporarily addressed by much higher mortgage interest rates and repossessions. Can you see that being repeated? Otherwise the solution must be to build more council housing (social housing) to house those on council waiting lists which are usually very long, thereby freeing up private property for sale. We do, however, need to address the issue of food security and building on Grade 1 farmland. Currently a big issue in Faversham in Kent due to the building proposed by the Duchy of Cornwall. Is it right to remove tenant farmers on productive land to build even more detached housing for commuters?

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
2 months ago
Reply to  Debbie Willmot

There were greater macro econ forces
engineered to propel the housing bubble up and up. The biggest was QE. 975bn and the Zero interest regime. As with the refusal to sort out planning restrictions and the monstrous decision to stop councils building homes – these were nakedly political decisions designed to inflate prices and enrich their metro class. See today – the Treasury Orthodoxy are rubbing knees gleefully as over one million people come to the Haus-frei UK!! Thats a percentage point on growth!! The fact that the entire public infrastructure has totally buckled under the weight of this unplanned movement of people will never be discussed by the London media..all merry on 2million capital gains to ehich they feel entitled. There are so many noses in the trough.

John Ramsden
John Ramsden
2 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

The snag is there are more like 20 million “noses in the trough”, because if the whole ponzi scheme were to collapse then wouldn’t pension funds, among other things, also plunge in value and international investors forsake sterling?

I’m no expert, but it seems to me it is harder than one thinks to glibly point at a small minority of supposed troughers when everything is interlinked so in the end most of us are one way or another.

Last edited 2 months ago by John Ramsden
chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

bring on the guillotine – as long as it is finely focussed …………

Hugh R
Hugh R
2 months ago
Reply to  Debbie Willmot

Oh, no – but I agree there are many bourgeoisie Leftish-leaning sorts who SAY “they would be happy for their house to fall in value.”
But that is merely the ‘shy Tory’ sindrome

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
2 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

“Millions of Londoners living in 300k home in 95 saw it turn into a 1.5m asset a decade later”
Around where I live, that £300k has turned into £3-4 million. Otherwise you’re spot on. The entire thrust of economic policy for more than twenty years has been to buy middle class votes by pushing immigration and printing money in order to create house price inflation.
Brexit was just the beginning of the blow back.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Well put, I particularly liked your allusion to 1789, though one can imagine how much more “vibrant” the Committee of Public Safety will be with ethnic sectarianism added to the mix…

Steve Brown
Steve Brown
2 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Venally incompetent more like!

Andrew F
Andrew F
2 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Many great points.
But why do you say that lockdown has blown the housing racket up?

JOHN BINGHAM
JOHN BINGHAM
2 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

We have a huge pool of labour or we would have if people had not been infantilised and marginalised via the benefits system. To not work is a terrible punishment even if it does not feel like that in the moment. The economic costs are huge the social costs are incalculable.
To seek to fix this with unskilled labour from abroad is another Ponzi scheme. What is added is not remotely sufficient to justify the housing or the other services it demands. And foreign labour (which will seek to recreate its own culture) will also become increasingly dependent on the state (why work for little more than benefits).
Huge pro-natal polices (centering mothers) via tax breaks for the employed and especially for people who already have one or two children within stable family settings.  
No benefits for anyone who is able to work but elects not to so where work is available. 

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
2 months ago
Reply to  JOHN BINGHAM

We don’t need to encourage people to have children. We just need to insist that those who do (women as well as men) work for a living and are paid properly. Most of the children of the current underclass would be far better in professional childcare, with healthy food and outdoor play, and their mothers, after weight loss and appropriate training, could be used to solve the staff shortage in care homes.
Two problems solved.

Steve Brown
Steve Brown
2 months ago

Your approach is controversial perhaps, but something, somewhere, is going to have to give. The status quo ante, whatever it is/was, is simply not available. However sceptical one might be, the increasing number of people with proper jobs, yet who need to use food banks, says that something in the system is wrong, deeply corrupt and needs changing.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
2 months ago
Reply to  JOHN BINGHAM

Yes the one ‘Great Evil’ that Beveridge identified, and the one that never gets mentioned, was ‘idleness’. The dependency culture which the welfare ‘cradle to the grave’ state spawned, throwing responsibility, self-disciple, and the work ethic out of the window, is at the root of much, if not most, societal disfunction. Ms Harrington can’t blame Thatcher for that, though.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 months ago
Reply to  JOHN BINGHAM

Don’t forget the “education” system as well the benefits.
The problem is; “No benefits for anyone who is able to work but elects not to so where work is available.” isn’t this the line the Tories ran so sucessfully with from 1997 to 2010? The whole “nasty party” sitch-up.
This line goes nowhere in an infantilised, media-run, liberal democracy. The electorate aren’t going to come their senses until it’s too late.

Andrew F
Andrew F
2 months ago
Reply to  JOHN BINGHAM

Problem is your ideas will never be acted on because all the usual suspects (charities, human rights scumbags (sorry lawyers and activist judges), useful “Lenin” idiots, etc) will fight against it.
They will use ECJ, UN etc to scare our useless politicians into doing nothing.

DenialARiverIn Islington
DenialARiverIn Islington
2 months ago

Britain will not automate to modern standards until cheap immigrant labour stops. It’s cheaper and easier to employ workers with suppressed wages than to install capital intensive automation, in many sectors. Net migration needs to stop in our overcrowded and overstretched island and policy needs to move towards supporting efficient products and services.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 months ago

That is the problem, but automation does not create jobs. In Britain we also have the problem of expensive and what will be increasingly unreliable energy which makes us uncompetitive.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Simple then, we just have to break the fashionable eco managerial consensus. We’d only have to deal with the BBC, the guardian and the Times, shut down all the universities, reeducate all teachers, Operation Yewtree Stephen Fry and declare David Attenborough damnatio memoriae.
We’re screwed…

Matt M
Matt M
2 months ago

I hire lots of software developers and used to bring them to London on work visas. Now everyone expects to work from home so we hire them to work in their home location.

All jobs that take place in front of a computer – which are probably the bulk of the “growth” jobs – can be done remotely and require no inward migration to occur. So immigrants are needed for the manual jobs that must happen here – and those like emptying dustbins or caring for old people – don’t create growth (at least not directly).

When we eventually bring immigration down to a number that our infrastructure can cope with, it will be the non-growth sectors that suffer – care homes, nurseries, cleaners etc. These are also hard to automate away.

The solution I think is a return to traditional family life. Mothers take years off work to care for their own babies and toddlers; elderly parents move in with their grown up kids when they are frail; people clean their own houses and walk their own damned dogs (or else pay wages that will attract a British person to do it).

The trade off for these inconveniences is that you will be able to afford a house to do it in, see a doctor in good time when you are sick and get your kids into the local school.

It might also strengthen marriages, families, neighbourhoods and save the entire nation.

Last edited 2 months ago by Matt M
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

People don’t have enough kids, early enough, nowadays for “return to traditional family life” to even be remotely possible.

R Wright
R Wright
2 months ago

If you fix the economic situation, they will have children.

Matt M
Matt M
2 months ago

I don’t see why we need more kids in order to give women longer maternity leave allowances. Nor for elderly parents to move in with their children.

I think we should work out what a good life looks like – stable marriages, few divorces, mothers spending the formative years with their young children, young married couples buying houses with a garden, primary schools in walking distance, and so on – and then make sure policy incentivises these things (or at least doesn’t disincentivise them).

At the moment the good life we are incentivising seems to be: come one, come all, do what you want, be who you want, ask the government to pay. Hardly conducive to building a stable nation.

Josie Bowen
Josie Bowen
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

I agree with a lot of what you say and would add that there are way too many dogs.

Matt M
Matt M
2 months ago
Reply to  Josie Bowen

That made me laugh

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Or turn it on its head and women give birth and look after child for first 6 months to a year until weaned, then father stays at home while mother goes out to work. There is no need for the majority of workers to be men any more as there is little heavy industry, so more work that women can do as well if not better than men. There would be less violence against women simply because men would be far too knackered looking after child and home tobe lifting their fists and wouldn’t have all that testosterone of the workplace driving psychological abuse. And get rid of “marriage”, people would have a civil partnership tmwith no history of patriarchy and tradition. Society might actually become more equal and the UK a better place for everyone to live. Fancy that!

Matt M
Matt M
2 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

I can’t tell whether or not you are joking.

B Emery
B Emery
2 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

As a woman that has worked on building sites (electrician), more often than not as the ONLY woman on site, on and off since I was 14, now 32, (dad had an accident needed help, then made sense to carry on), I have to interject here because what you just said is complete shit. I know what it’s like to work in a male dominated industry and I’m a mother and I’m about to wipe the floor with you.
First, I have never EVER worked on a site where I have been discriminated against, abused or otherwise made to feel uncomfortable, no ‘testosterone fuelled abuse’ quite the opposite in fact, there is absolutely nothing stopping women from working in these male dominated industries already. I’ve been there, got the t shirt. Met a few other ladies happily rubbing along, usually because it’s their family business.
Second, you will find that the industries still dominated by men are dominated for a reason, you go to a site, watch a steel erector, or scaffolder, or groundworker, lady groundworkers are like unicorns I’ve only ever met one, she was hardcore, she wouldn’t take any abuse, from anyone, never seen a lady scaffolder, it’s such a hard physical job it’s very difficult for a woman to physically keep up. Or even lift a full 3m scaffold pole. Trust me, I’ve occasionally played with scaffolding. There’s no danger of these guys going home full of testosterone fuelled abuse, they normally creak on the sofa in the evening.
Third, I had a very traditional upbringing, mum in charge of children, house and helped with admin, dad goes out to work and runs the business. They ran a contracting business from home. We do the same. This division of jobs works, they are both equally important. Mens and womens brains are wired differently, when a woman has a child her whole brain changes, science fact, women are biologically wired to care for children, men are not. When we had our daughter, I beleived very firmly in staying home to care for her, I do not believe in farming children out to childcare, in fact I think this is causing problems, especially for something as vain as ‘your career’, if you have children they should be central to your world not an abstract part of it. Raising your own child as a woman should be a joy, I was happy to stay home and care for her. Mothering wasn’t harder, honestly. It was fantastic. She started school last year and I’ve been back out on site on and off (still facing no discrimination), interestingly her and the only other child that didn’t go to nursery are ahead of all the others, by a fair stretch with reading. Honestly, the child that causes the most trouble belongs to the woman that runs the nursery, her child spent most of her time there.
So, thank you feminist warrior but no thanks. Us mothers in the male dominated world, don’t need you trumpeting our cause thanks. Its not scary or beset with testosterone fueled abuse. I want to raise my child. In the world you propose, you are forcing men into a duty they are not biologically equipped to deal with. Damaging children and women by erasing the importance of motherhood and ignoring basic biology. You come under my ‘nutter’ category.

Matt M
Matt M
1 month ago
Reply to  B Emery

Good comment B Emery.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  B Emery

Thanks for dealing with the lefty moron.

Andrew F
Andrew F
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

You got many up votes, but I think you are part of the problem.
I used to work for international IT company and trained people supposed to replace uk workers.
Problem is that unless you have, let say, Indian cost of living, UK workers will struggle to compete.
Most of my “trainees” were in jobs paying about 40k in uk wages 12 years ago.
But they had domestic staff and were surprised I walked to work 10 min from underground station in London (they would use taxis or rickshaw).
Globalisation was a disaster for 90% of people in the West and the sooner it ends the better.
Btw, I accept that I was part of the problem as well…

Matt M
Matt M
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Very fair point Andrew – I am definitely culpable in this mess.

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 months ago

“And for some decades now, the main way of doing that has been “supply-side reform”, a euphemism for keeping competition at the bottom of the meat-grinder sufficiently brutal that workers don’t get too demanding.”

I agree with certain points made – the Tories are doomed, that Brexit is a symptom of much larger forces etc – but this analysis is also filled with fallacies. The worst one is the assertion that I’ve quoted here: supply side reform is emphatically nothing of the sort. Supply side reform is simply a process by which resources continue to be allocated in the best way possible, and for vested interests not to be permitted to take over resource allocation decisions, which when it happens causes unjust enrichment of the few and indefensible impoverishment of the many.

On occasion that does involve stopping the unions from raising workers entitlements beyond what the market can afford, true, but these days it is much more about preventing middle-class vested interests from wrecking economic growth, whether it’s planning reform to increase housebuilding or public sector reform to prevent increasing amounts of tax revenue to pour ceaselessly into paying the salaries and pensions of bureaucrats whose main job is to create work for each other while front-line public services collapse.

We are not presently doing either those two examples I mention, or the vast array of other reforms that are presently needed to prevent socioeconomic decline. And it is that failure, alone, which explains the mess Britain is now in. The article is therefore wrong on the implied point that decline is inevitable and the solutions to it lie outside the power of governments to address: the solutions are simple.

A country can survive big government for a while, and it can survive bad government for a while, but it cannot cope with government that is both big and bad at the same time. That is what we presently have: a political system that creates the problems it then promises but fails to resolve, but is adept at fooling enough of us at election time that more money and bigger government is the answer.

The lessons taught by Thatcher and Reagan have to be relearned. There is no alternative: government is the problem, not the solution, and as long as voters think that voting for other people’s money can actually solve problems, we will simply have bigger and more expensive problems.

Last edited 2 months ago by John Riordan
Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Your comment reminded me of this view of Murray N Rothbard made in1982: “We have gotten to the point where everything the government does is counterproductive, the conclusion, of course, is that the government should do nothing at all, that is, should retire quickly from the monetary and economic scene and allow freedom and free markets to work.” Forty years later we still have government failure.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 month ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Some years ago I saw this article in I think it was Reason Magazine that argued based on GDP data that there was a strong inverse-correlation between the quantity of legislation that was passed in the U.S. and GDP. In other words, when Congress was most productive, the economy wasn’t and vice versa. There was a lag involved, of course, I think GDP changes trailed by eight or nine months. Ever since then whenever the media has been bemoaning our legislative bodies being tied up one way or another and not getting anything done I’ve thought of this article.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

“a political system that creates the problems it then promises but fails to resolve, but is adept at fooling enough of us at election time that more money and bigger government is the answer.”
Good summary of the problem but I fail to see how the “solutions are simple”.
There’s nothing simple about conquering vested interests in a liberal democracy…
The simple answer is system failure and economy catabolism, but that’s not exactly a solution…

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 months ago

Fair point. I should have made clear the difference between “simple” and “easy”. Pushing rocks up a mountain is simple but not at all easy. The same applies to removing vested interests: we can see that it simply needs doing, but actually doing it is not easy at all.

Last edited 2 months ago by John Riordan
Andrew F
Andrew F
2 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

You seem to overlook the fact that collapse of communism allowed upper orders to screw both working and middle class for the last 30 years.
Nothing encourages sharing benefits of economic growth as much as realisation that you might be swinging from a lamppost and your family are dead or in a Gulag.

Jonathan H
Jonathan H
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Good point, the collapse of soviet bloc was indeed significant in furthering what we might call “neo-liberal” policies from the 1990s

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 month ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I’m glad you wrote this comment. That line you quoted was the one line that bothered me in Mary’s essay. But it takes so much work, I decided not to go after it. Your comment is great. I’m in the middle of reading Francis Fukuyama’s “The Origins of Political Order”, the second volume of which is subtitled: Political Order and Decay” (which is what attracted me to the set). In his introduction he suggests he is going to argue there are some inexorable laws of human social nature that lead complex states which arise due to innovations which occur maximally in times of which one might euphemize as “supply-side” economic systems but which inevitably create huge wealth differences between groups where the elite exploit their wealth to obtain even greater wealth but in the process destroy the economic system which allowed it to arise in the first place. And so they decay. The Left looks at “supply side economics” and sees these rigged systems that are put in place by the joint actxion of wealthy elites and politicians (who are or become them themselves). The Right looks at the politics which further represses them and makes it even more difficult for those at the bottom to better themselves. They’re both right – at this time. But it wasn’t always this way.

Harvey Solomon-Brady
Harvey Solomon-Brady
2 months ago

The Windrush story purported by the media and second and third generation immigrants is, I’m afraid, a myth.

Yes, thousands came to Britain to work, but it was on such a small scale not to be worth mentioning. There were hundreds of thousands of native Britons unemployed.

Here’s a good article on it, published recently: https://im1776.com/2022/11/22/the-windrush-myth/

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago

I have always been surprised how many Americans I meet claim that their descendants ‘ came over’ on the Mayflower.
No doubt this will soon be the case with the Windrush.

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 months ago

The Mayflower myth is doubtless useful for those who believe the Anglosphere is a general force for good and deserves to survive (I am one of them), but it is just that: Americans are mostly the descendents of successive waves of immigration from the Old World in the late 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. That means white Americans are of general European descent, not British.

What confuses me is why anyone would want to claim kinship with a bunch of 16th century Puritans when it is just as good (and arguably better in some ways) to claim descent from immigrants brave enough to cross the Atlantic later once it was understood just how vast and challenging the New World actually was.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Yes to claim some form of kinship with a bunch of 17th religious ‘nutters’ is rather odd.

Far better to claim kinship with those who arrived in 1607 (rather than 1620) under the guidance of one Christopher Newport, intent on profit and plunder!

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
2 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

There’s never been much that is logical about snobbery.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I suspect because the sentiments of this video exist in the subconsciouses of all Americans, boih native and later-comers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzyLuUxMtGY
Hence the recent upsurge in iconoclasm.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 month ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I agree – and I’m one of these Americans. The name is probably Scottish in origin, but the only relatives I can directly trace (back to the 1800’s) are German, English and Irish. Yet the name agnatically soldiers on.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
2 months ago

Mayflower folk were seeking religious freedom, Windrush folk were seeking economic opportunity- big difference.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Newport & Co were also seeking “economic opportunity “ in 1607, so much so that they soon needed negro slaves to help them out.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 month ago

This isn’t just an American foible. It’s similar to all these people supposedly related to William the Conqueror after running their DNA through Ancestry.com and 23-and-me. It was so amusing to finally understand the principal outlined in the first chapter of Reich’s book (Who We Are and How We Got Here), that while the number of ancestors you have doubles with each generation back, the number of stretches of DNA only increases by about 71 stretches because of the way that chromosomes split apart in chunks. The way I learned mitosis in school wasn’t simplistic. And in terms of ancestry, what it means is that while the recent Queen Elizabeth could trace her ancestry directly to William the Conqueror 24 generations back, at that level she had potentially over 16 million ancestors whom contributed only about 1700 DNA segments to her DNA. The odds that one of those segments came from William was vanishingly small (1751/16777216). Of course, the population of Europe wasn’t probably 16 million back then so there had to have been some “relative overlap” in there, but the basic principal is still the same.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
2 months ago

Immigration was mainly to London and other large cities. Unemployment was in the towns of the north. That hasn’t changed. There are hardly any people of West Indian origin in the North East, because they weren’t needed; there was plenty of cheap local labour.

Jonathan H
Jonathan H
2 months ago

Excellent point. Places like Boston in Lincolnshire are not at all typical

Anglica Bee
Anglica Bee
2 months ago

Net migration this year is in excess of 500,000 – a new record. Migration of over a million people to these shores permitted by a Government – in fact, a political class – that has no answers to the housing and infrastructure crisis.These figures do not include illegal immigrants (via the Channel, entering by clandestine means, visa/holiday overstayers). 2,082,321 million visas were granted in the year to June 2022 (1,089,408 million less than 2019) with only 16% work-related and fewer than 2/3 of that number “skilled-workers”https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-june-2022/summary-of-latest-statistics There is absolutely no indication that these numbers will abate under any of the current incumbents of the Ship of Fools that is the HoC. We need a revolution.

Last edited 2 months ago by Anglica Bee
Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago

Usually I really enjoy Mary Harrington’s articles, which are thoughtful and offer great new insights. This one, though, leaves me cold. I don’t accept the headline premise and I can’t follow the argument. I’ll just make a couple of observations.
Firstly, this is just a local observation from my mid-sized town in the Midlands, but the suggestion there has been a failure to build houses is a complete fallacy. There has been so much new build over the last 20 years it has almost doubled the physical area, if not the population, of the place. If it’s so unaffordable, who on earth is buying all this housing? And I wonder, how did we cope 20 years ago without all these new estates and manage not to have a property crisis. I think perhaps others have addressed this question in their comments.
Secondly, I think the notion of ‘healthy’ country-dwellers being uprooted into the squalor of urban life is a bit starry-eyed. Rural life for most of history, and around the world today, has been backward and squalid in its own way. That’s what drives urbanisation in China, India and Africa. And despite the suggestion that it’s all down to some coercive capitalist plot, much (though not all) of the change described in the article is voluntary. The waves of immigrants into the UK, whether Irish, Commonwealth, Eastern-European, Middle-Eastern or Albanian, have indeed suffered poor housing, prejudice and discrimination in this country. But they keep coming because, for all that, it’s better than what they’ve left behind.

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Agree about the bucolic idyll myth. People flocked to cities because despite the squalor on offer, it was still better than some rural backwater where work was just as hard and you were isolated from the world as well.

It’s scary how many people nowadays have no idea how grindingly hard and unforgiving life was prior to the modern age. Most modern people, if somehow transported back in time and left there for the rest of their lives, would probably commit suicide within a week once they came to understand what they faced.

Last edited 2 months ago by John Riordan
Jonathan H
Jonathan H
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Very good point about country and town.
Your area is untypical Look at the statistics on housebuilding.
And population
And interest rates/mortgage costs.
Income growth also affects housing demand, and generally it has been growing recently. Though not for all.
https://lordslibrary.parliament.uk/housing-in-england-issues-statistics-and-commentary/#heading-2
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Housing_in_the_United_Kingdom

Lisa Letendre
Lisa Letendre
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

I live in Edinburgh and the building of new developments is unbelievable. And they are sold before they are even completed. Where is the money coming from?

Simon Diggins
Simon Diggins
2 months ago

Interesting article. One observation only, regarding the issue of housing targets: the problem is not targets per se but how they have been derived and allocated.

What the government has done is take a centralised approach, applied a uniform expected growth figure and applied it rigidly across the country. It is that which has caused all the angst.

Instead of asking (that old-fashioned, courteous and mutually respectful approach) communities, ‘what do you need to grow?’ and, ‘what extra can you absorb?’, local authorities were simply given a figure; worse, that figure was based on a verifiably false assumption of population growth. Harrington rightly mentions Thatcher’s destruction, to privilege the City, of Britain’s industry; this needs to be linked to her hollowing-out of local authority power and structures. In housing, this means that local authorities have little real power to plan sensibly, and long-term: sure, they can occasionally say ‘no’, but negative power has its limits.

How can things become better? On the ‘supply-side’, reducing Britain’s dependency on the immigration drug will help, but other reforms include unlocking the ‘land bank’, insistence that builders stick to their planning conditions requirements to build social housing (they regularly renege), repurposing high streets (especially the rooms above shops), converting redundant commercial buildings to housing, etc. In short, there is a veritable rack of measures available: time to use them.

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 months ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

“Harrington rightly mentions Thatcher’s destruction, to privilege the City, of Britain’s industry….”

Another fallacy in the article I’m afraid: the process of deindustrialisation preceded Thatcher by decades (the coal mining communities had haemorrhaged jobs at a greater rate under previous Labour governments, for example) and manufacturing declined at a greater pace under New Labour than it did under the Tory governments of Thatcher and Major.

That’s not to say it’s defensible, merely that it is not plausible to explain the problem in simplistic ideological terms.

Last edited 2 months ago by John Riordan
Debbie Willmot
Debbie Willmot
2 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Her policies exacerbated the problem even if it started before her ‘reign’. Labour was also at fault but then she’s supposed to have considered Blair to be her true ‘heir’.

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 months ago
Reply to  Debbie Willmot

That doesn’t make sense. If Blair was her heir as you say, then why did manufacturing decline accelerate on his watch?
We are describing a situation in which manufacturing decline actually slowed on Thatcher’s watch and then resumed once Labour was back in power. How can you justify your claim here?

Last edited 2 months ago by John Riordan
Jonathan H
Jonathan H
2 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

China joining WTO in 2001 had an effect?

Bob Rowlands
Bob Rowlands
2 months ago

Excellent essay highlighting the strange and uncertain future this country faces. The Conservatives are toast.

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob Rowlands

The Conservatives have pivoted on key policy issues in the past to retain political relevance. They had chances to do so recently with Boris Johnson and Liz Truss – but a sizeable proportion of the MPs were reluctant to change from a Euro Managerial mindset.
There is still a faint (very faint) chance that a Hero will step forward and pivot the Conservatives before the next election, but Rishi Sunak is not that man.
So yes, toast.

chris Barton
chris Barton
2 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

I don’t understand this strange hope people have that someone can “save” the CONservatives. That party is the problem along with their Red wing the Labour party. How many times does a party have to betray its voters or actively spit in your face before people twig it needs to go? So what if we get Labour? a few more rainbow flags will be the only difference.

Andrew F
Andrew F
2 months ago
Reply to  chris Barton

Not really.
Mass immigration of even more useless benefit claimants.
Allow Labour in.
Led by a guy who served in Corbyn shadow cabinet and conspired with EU to overturn referendum vote?
Votes for EU citizens in another referendum to join Fourth Reich again?
Whatever their failings, i am voting Conservative again.
You extremely naive if you think difference between Conservative and Labour is just few rainbow flags.

R Wright
R Wright
2 months ago

The ‘housing crisis’ is a figment of the imagination. The explosion of the population due to mass-immigration on the other hand is very real.

Jonathan H
Jonathan H
2 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Look at the wikipedia page graph showing how public housing stopped in 1980s
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Housing_in_the_United_Kingdomt

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 months ago

Net migration for the U.K. last year was 500,000. It’s impossible to build housing stock with this level of immigration.
https://order-order.com/2022/11/24/ons-estimates-net-migration-reaches-over-500000/

polidori redux
polidori redux
2 months ago

Go to Conservative Home and make this argument. You will be met with blank incomprehension. I know, as I have tried.

Nick Wright
Nick Wright
2 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Given Beveridge was a Liberal, you might be barking up the wrong tree. Or maybe not, given we’ve had 12 years of Lib Dems in Tories’ clothing running the country according to no discernible political philosophy.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nick Wright
Matt M
Matt M
2 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I have too. It is a very strange comments section which seems to have been colonised by a mix of unrepentant Remainers and Labour supporters. Very little Tory thought happens there.

P Branagan
P Branagan
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

‘Tory thought’ – is, of course, an oxymoron.

chris Barton
chris Barton
2 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Strange bunch are modern Tory members. They are Blairites for the most part but still speak as if the Labour party (what should be their home) is the enemy.

Peter Lucey
Peter Lucey
2 months ago

Oh the useless Tories! Well of course – but please show the Party promising to build millions of new houses. The Liberal Democrats, the Tories main opponents – in the South at least – are fiercely opposed to building, and are very successful in that strategy: note the 25% swing in the 2021 Cheshunt and Amersham by-election.

Debbie Willmot
Debbie Willmot
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Lucey

They say they are opposed to building to ‘buy’ votes. It will probably be quite successful. The example of their fiasco over student grants should make people question their honesty though.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Lucey

We don’t need millions of new houses, we need to reform the market to remove the incentives for over-occupation by the wealthy and the elderly. The solution is to reform Council Tax by offsetting a general increase with a large discount for young families.

Jonathan H
Jonathan H
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

There is some “over-occupation” (a tendentious term) in public housing.
If people have bought their house, seems unfair – on most philosophies – to say it is “underoccupied”

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
2 months ago

Ah yes, infinite growth. 20 billion people living in poverty is so much better than 2 billion living in sustainable peace and prosperity. If locusts could talk they’d agree.

Stoater D
Stoater D
2 months ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

Just explain how growth makes people live in poverty, would you ?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 months ago

“…The Conservatives are doomed…”

No doubt, but the overall soft-right majority built into the UK populace is still in place for the moment. Which means there is a gaping vacuum in the body politic, waiting for someone to come and fill it, if they can.

As for the Tories at the next election, for myself I will either sit this one out, or vote for another party on the right if they are not totally batso. After the recent betrayals by Sunak and Hunt, they would need to cross my palm with huge amounts of silver for me to even consider voting for them again.

*** If anyone at CCHQ reads this BTL comment perchance, they can take it as a big flashing red sign, that someone who typically votes Tory as a matter of instinct, won’t do so anymore. You are fast losing what would in the past have been considered bedrock Tory support. How have you managed it from a position of an 80 seat majority you numpties?

Last edited 2 months ago by Prashant Kotak
Andrew Raiment
Andrew Raiment
2 months ago

Yet another fine essay from Mary regarding our inept political classes.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
2 months ago

Don’t mind me, but I’d say, Lord Beveridge, that the last thing that would reduce “Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness” would be sauntering politicans and gubmint Barnacles and Stiltstockings. (Odd how Dickens had it nailed 170 years ago).
If we just look at housing I noted, ten years ago as my plane from Yankland was circling in a holding pattern above a certain sceptred isle, that there was good British countryside as far as the eye could see, and plenty of room for new nice suburban villas of the kind suitable for The Railway Children of blessed memory.
Or, driving north from Brighton to the M25. Nothing but pasture as far as the eye can see, punctuated by the occasional baronial manor with a Range Rover SUV outside. Of course, everyone knows that the British Constitution has a section that requires that the viewscape for the owners of Range Rovers shall never be harmed.

Last edited 2 months ago by Christopher Chantrill
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago

In fact over the years HMG has done a simply splendid job in confining the menace of mass immigration to our vilest cities, and leaving our ‘Arcadian’ countryside virtually untouched.

“Come friendly bombs………..” as the late late Sir John Betjeman so beautifully put it.

George Venning
George Venning
2 months ago

I’m not defending Rishi Sunak in any way but housebuilding targets are not the solution to Britain’s housing crisis. They aren’t actively harmful but they will never solve the problem and, as such, they are a distraction.

The UK’s housing crisis is primarily a crisis of price. Our stock of housing is actually ample in the sense that the huge majority of homes in the ownership and social housing sectors are under-occupied – mostly by more than one bedroom. The problem is not that we don’t have enough homes, or that we don’t have enough space in those homes. The problem is that those who do not own a home already cannot afford to buy or rent a home that would meet their needs.

The 300,000 homes a year target for house building was never based upon an assessment of how many homes were needed, it was based upon an assessment of the number of homes necessary to prevent house prices from rising further. That calculation was first made in 2004 by Kate Barker and the target has not been reached in a single one of the 18 years since.

So, you might ask, why haven’t we built enough homes to stabilise house prices? Well, the conventional answers are either “because our planning system is awful” or “because developers hoard land”. Both things may be true but study after study has shown that neither explans the underprovision.

The answer is simpler and was identified by Oliver Letwin of all people in his review of the Build Out Rate. Developers, he observed, go broke if property prices fall in the period between buying the site and selling the homes they build on it. As a consequence, they are very careful not to build so many homes that they risk over-supplying the market and causing the price reductions that will bankrupt them.

Thus, you can never build enough homes to stabilise house prices because the people that you rely upon to build those homes face an existential risk if they are successful in achieivng the Government’s goal.

The answer is simple – instead of targeting house building numbers in order to reduce price pressure, you target the source of the problem – prices – directly. You commit to achieving zero house price growth until average earnings catch up with them again. You will need a whole suite of policies in order to achieve that goal, (rental market regulation, new development models, new housing tenures and so on) And you neen to recognise that this will take a generation to achieve. In the meantime, the most important housing policy is that you provide large numbers of affordable homes (both for rent and for sale) at prices that are directly linked to earnings.

The provision of the affordable homes not only addresses the needs of households who are currently priced out but it also serves to stabilise open market property prices (people won’t pay so much for an open market home if they could buy an affordable one for half the price). Moreover, a government commitment to overseeing price stagnation in the property market will bear down heavily on the land market, effectively ending land market speculation and releasing huge amounts of land for development now (if property prices are stagnant and construction costs will continue to rise then land will get less valuable over time – menaing that owners have an incentive to bring it forward now rather than in the future). Cheap land mkes it easier to build more affordable homes and so on.

Targeting house price stability instead of housing delivery makes a vicious circle virtuous.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
2 months ago

Really good to see this subject being addressed at last. It took 15 years to get this into print just as a news article, though Art Rosenthal, the founder of Basic Books and then Special projects Director at HarperCollins HarperBusiness in 1993 was keen, until some ill-advised praise of Henry George was offered by yours truly. https://www.smh.com.au/business/wanted-a-new-economic-theory-20090206-7z7h.html

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
2 months ago

Henry George sure got the solution right. But the turkeys being persuaded to vote for early Xmas has yet to happen.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
2 months ago
Reply to  Bernard Hill

He was a very incisive thinker and writer. Came to London in the 90s to meet the latter-day publisher of HG books who offered to publish ours, sponsored by KPMG in NY whose Property group had done stellar work on the banking crisis of tge early 90s. I must admit, though, that I’ve always failed to appreciate his single tax. Evidently, so have many others. His ideas might have had lasting impact if he had been far more flexible and daresay conventional in his policy formulation.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 months ago

Lots of big words, no ideas.

What’s growth?

Humans have never controlled more energy on average as they do now.

Workers have never enjoyed more opportunity and better compensation than they do now. That’s why people are risking their lives to cross the channel in dinghies.

The rich can only sleep on one bed at a time and eat one stake at a time. And you can’t eat bitcoins.

Chris W
Chris W
2 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

I also have trouble with the idea of growth. What does it mean today?

David Simpson
David Simpson
2 months ago

While the article cited explains the problem – that there is no theory to account for real property and the way it interacts with the rest of the economy, and that its booms and busts are fundamental to the business cycle – it frustratingly did not give any idea how it should be dealt with (that I could see). Presumably when real property prices start to rise (say faster than inflation) government and banks should act to control property prices through higher interest rates, restrictions on credit, taxes on capital gains and wealth taxes, all focused on real property. That the Bank of England should target not general inflation, but specifically real property price inflation.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
2 months ago
Reply to  David Simpson

Yes, David, you’re right in my opinion on all counts. It’s easier to diagnose the problem than find a solution. Our purpose was to highlight the gap in theory to bolster our recommendations – ‘our’ meaning KPMG, Protiviti, D&T – before and after the GFC. And in ongoing consultation with the BIS research group, to try to impact central bank policy which by being lagged, tends to be counter-productive. Yet they are hamstrung by contradictory policy objectives and outcomes. This is now all changing for the better, though not nearly enough. Oddly, some of the findings grew out of efforts in the early 1990s working on post-Soviet banking reform to oppose Shock Therapy in Russia. Early Soviet planning archives held some surprise cameo appearances.

William Cameron
William Cameron
2 months ago

Growth through immigration has proved disastrous. Largely because the senior civil service and politicians are innumerate. They think Increasing increasing GDP is growth. It isnt if it makes you poorer.
Immigrants may fill jobs cheaply for shareholders benefit. But the bill for their hospitals, GPs, Housing, Schools etc falls on the state . And few of the immigrants pay much tax – certainly nothing like enough to pay for their use of public services.
We have added 20% to the population (10m) in the last 20 years and made everyone except the shareholders poorer.

Last edited 2 months ago by William Cameron
Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 months ago

What sloppy journalism. 165% of what number? The information we need to understand this is not given. Are we expected to believe that 2300 people died just because they were on a list. Beveridge is mentioned a lot but he was the problem. He wanted a welfare state when he should have been modernising industry first, as the German’s did.
Thatcher did not strip the country of factory jobs. She ended the taxpayer support for failing business and part of that problem was Labour (and Thatcher at one stage) giving in to union demands for increased wages. This made British industry even more uncompetitive, and products were also inferior compared to foreign competitors because industry had failed to modernise. The British wanted cheaper, higher quality goods and we got them from abroad. We have ourselves to blame for accepting welfare over productive activity.
What is meant by growth? I have yet to hear a single person mention growth as the problem, unless it is growth of their income, and they never mention that being based on increasing productivity.

Jonathan H
Jonathan H
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Exchange rate appreciatioin in early 1980s making exports costlier?

Dominic A
Dominic A
2 months ago

There isn’t a lack of housing per se, but a lack of social or affordable housing. Ssince 1980 SH fallen from about 7.5 million units to 5, whilst total number of units has risen considerably and kept check with the population rise. Building more properties for sale at £200 a sq ft is not going to solve anything other than a developer’s need for cash. Other issues are: hogging of land by investors waiting to cash in on PP windfalls, who often do not fulfill the PP, thus restricting supply and keeping prices high (ie allowing them to control the housing market like De Beers controls the diamond market); and a fear of the other kind of social housing – people living together. When young and poor I lived in communal housing of (reasonable quality houses of up to 12 sharers, or 80 in Tokyo) – I get the impression now that young people fear communal living, and feel entitled to their own flat….?

Sami J
Sami J
1 month ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Hardly. Most young people have as many roommates as they can reasonably get a way with to keep rent not affordable but just survivable.

Brett H
Brett H
2 months ago

Is this all across Britain or more regional?

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 months ago

As I have said before, Brits need to come away from this idea that having ones own house (detached/semi-detached) is the best way to live; apartment living needs to be infused with more prestige.
Look at South Korea: an enormously populous country, but also a mountainous one – meaning that building ground is limited by fact rather than politics. High rise buildings were the only answer to that quandary in the 20th century and living in an apartment building is looked upon very favourably: as more civilised that living in an old-fashioned ground level house. Spaces between apartment blocks is often kept green and quite natural, providing common areas for residents to exercise and spend time.
This idea won’t go down well in Britain but if you don’t want everything concreted over but you’ve got to get rooves over people’s heads, then this is the only practical answer. It will involve a pretty large shift in mindset. And, in some areas, a kind fo 21st century version of the slum clearance with nasty old post-war semi-detached/terraced council housing being replaced with blocks of modern flats.

Chris W
Chris W
2 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

This is something which confuses me. Being European means acting like Europeans. In Europe, as you say, there is no stigma attached to living in rented property for ever. Obviously, the right controls have to be in place.

My mother wasted her whole life dreaming about owning a home. My father was happy renting. There was argument after argument after argument and my mother won. So, we moved from a great semi-rural, light semi to a town centre, dark terrace. What did we achieve?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris W

For centuries Europeans lived in cramped heavily fortified cities where it was simply impossible for many to own their home due to the lack of available space.

Only when these massive fortifications were demolished, many in the mid nineteenth century (Vienna, Geneva, Luxembourg etc) was this problem resolved, but by then it was too late as the custom of renting an ‘apartment’ was too well established.

Thanks to the Royal Navy this was NOT a problem for the UK where no such cities*existed, and urban sprawl and the wonders of ‘Metroland’ became the order of the day.

(* Except perhaps Berwick-upon-Tweed & Kingston upon Hull.)

Last edited 2 months ago by stanhopecharles344
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris W

I’m sorry it didn’t turn out well for your family, but a) I’m talking about a far larger dynamic that one single family’s experience and b) this was all happening in a different time where the prevailing circumstances were different. Having a huge population and complaining about there not being enough housing for everyone and also demanding that green space shouldn’t been concreted over…you can’t have everything. That is residential policy cakeism. Something needs to give and I think most people on this thread would say “stop immigration, get the population down” and try and mess around with that lever…but that will cause a whole host of problems by itself. Pushing apartment living is in my opinion the most sensible and pragmatic way to balance out all demands.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris W

Indeed. The only reason I eventually bought was because renting was costing more than owning.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris W

Where do you live now?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
2 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

We’ve tried the ‘high rise’ solution before, in the 1950s and 60s. The results were so depressing that many of those towers have been demolished, whilst the ones that remain have become tainted as death-traps following the Grenfell disaster. There’s no politician who’d be able to suggest such a solution without being laughed out of court.

Last edited 2 months ago by Steve Murray
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

But that is purely to do with the way that apartment living has historically been handled in the UK (i.e. badly). Apartments were (and are) seen as “somewhere unpleasant where we can conveniently put the poor” rather than modern, space efficient, quality living. You can reimagine this. Have a couple of showcase projects where you build apartments in a well-thought out, modern way using decent materials and try and change attitudes that way. It is wrong to think that just because Britain’s attempts at apartment living were badly done in the past then the entire genre needs to be condemned forever. That is defeatist.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
2 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

In places like Edinburgh flats are not frowned upon, but I suspect that as soon as you have a family you want to move, after all how can you live four floors up with no lift and a new born and maybe a 5 yo?
The problem with flats is primarily the lack of a factor who would take care of the communal parts and the fact that even the new/er ones are just drab.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Why are you assuming blocks of flats have no lifts? That might be the case with old houses that have been converted into flats or older blocks but surely no new apartment block would be built without a lift?
Re: care of communal parts of the house: I will again point at the way things are done in Vienna – which has very high life quality and a big part of this is how people are housed. Owners of houses (which may be entirely made up of rental apartments or have a mix of rental and own apartments like ours) employ a firm to perform the cleaning, snow clearance and discharge other legal obligations incumbent upon the house owner. The people living in the house share the costs of this firm. Some of these firms can be total cowboys (we had problems with ours for a time) but house residents have legal options for firing them and getting a new one so they don’t push things too far. It’s a whole new business opportunity.

Last edited 2 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Arkadian X
Arkadian X
2 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Re: lift, I was talking about my experience in Scotland. Even new builds seldom have them. You need to move to the posher end of the market to find buildings with lifts. They are by no means the norm.
The same with factors: if you go to Edinburgh, Glasgow or Dundee, all awash with flats, you will be hard pushed to find places that organised themselves. There ought to be a law or something requiring people living in a block of flats to contribute, but at this moment there isn’t.

Lisa Letendre
Lisa Letendre
1 month ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Historically Edinburgh is made up of tenement housing with no lifts. We had to move from our flat when I became disabled. And there is no factoring in these flats, you have to get the council involved if owners can’t see eye to eye on improvements or upkeep. But the great thing about Scotland is that all flats are freehold. None of this leasehold nonsense. And with new builds, there is a factor for maintenance of common areas. Where I live now the upkeep is great and if there’s an issue it is usually solved with a mere phone call.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
2 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Katherine, i live in an apartment. Though it’s not high-rise (its a converted loft with studio space and light) i love it, so it’s not me being defeatist, just a realist.

For families with children, by far the better option is a home with as a garden, which i once enjoyed both as a child and as an adult parent. The answer lies in reducing the housing pressure through immigration control and stopping the failed model of growth which Mary describes. How we get there is a difference question.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

This is why I say that the concept needs to be rethought. A house with a garden for a family would be lovely but the fact is it is not available to everyone. Therefore, apartment living must be rethought. I’m living in Vienna and our house (an old house of apartments, has always been like that – it’s not a conversion) is right around the corner from a brand new housing development for young families, built on the grounds of the old freight station. Lots of flats have balconies which provides a bit of outdoor space – but the key is the big park in the middle of it (Helmut Zilk Park). Families don’t have their own personal garden, but a massive communal one with play areas, a café, a bakery an ice cream salon etc. Even if you don’t have space for a park, building blocks with a kind of inner courtyard space can also act as a kind of shared garden, with the added benefit of it being closed off and therefore safe. There’s so many ways to structure this which are practical and mean decent living conditions for residents.
I repeat: you must stop thinking that the way apartment living has always been in Britain is the way it always has to be. It can be different and provide options for people for whom the house+garden deal just isn’t practical/achieveable (the majority of the population for the foreseeable future, it is simply a fact).

Last edited 2 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
2 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

And I repeat… you must stop trying to tell others how to think. The solution is NOT about housing as such, but about why there’s pressure on housing when there needn’t be.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I’m not telling you how to think, I’m telling you there are more possibilities than the way you are thinking about it, which is true. And the high population isn’t going away anytime soon. You need solutions now and simply moaning about how there’s too many people is not going to sort it. You simply stay in the same grumpy quandary.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
2 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Once again, you’re making huge assumptions about me based on very little. You’ve no idea, for instance, whether i have “thought differently” or not. Please desist – and i repeat – from telling people you don’t know (or perhaps understand?) to “think differently”.
Just as an example, i advocated on Unherd only a week or so ago the further conversion of old mill buildings into apartments, some of which have already been repurposed to great effect but plenty remain derelict.
There are ways of making good points without apparent condescension, which is almost invariably misplaced.

Last edited 2 months ago by Steve Murray
Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 month ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

You literally said, “you must stop thinking that…”

Bronwen Saunders
Bronwen Saunders
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

While I agree that uncontrolled immigration as a major pressure on housing should be addressed, the fact remains that Britain’s housing stock is incredibly inefficient, wasteful (of land, energy, resources) and socially divisive. There are much much better ways of handling it – as both Katherine and I have tried to point out.

Bronwen Saunders
Bronwen Saunders
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I’m not sure that it is “by far the better option.” Children who grow up in the kind of developments that Katherine describes below and that are standard where I live (in Switzerland) have plenty of green space and safe playgrounds in which to play with other children living in the same block. This means that parents can let their children out to play without worrying about traffic and child molesters and the children themselves get to mix with others of all ages, social and ethnic backgrounds. It’s a complete mystery to me why the UK persists with a housing model that is so obviously flawed. But then as my son once remarked, “Most problems in Britain could be solved if everyone was forced to spend six months living abroad.”

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 months ago

Yes, I would absolutely second that statement by your son!

Lisa Letendre
Lisa Letendre
1 month ago

It’s interesting how people who have lived in countries other than the one they were born in, have a different attitude towards immigration. And maybe it’s just the fact that it takes bravery to do that. To move and assimilate into a new culture is not for the faint hearted. Yet people who never live outside their country of birth see it as their possession and people who immigrate to ‘their’ country are out to steal from it.
And another phenomenon I have noticed is first generation Brits can be anti immigration. Their parents fled either from persecution or for a better life. But their children do not wish for the same opportunity for others.
And everyone talks about the influx of immigration with no mention of the 100’s of thousands of Brits who permanently leave these isles every year to live abroad.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
2 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Really, really good point. Apartments can be wonderfully proportioned and space-effective. With some finance and design colleagues years ago, touting a shared-equity finance solution for public housing, we met with our country’s public housing authority. What we required was future-proofed public housing. That is, more timeless quality finishes, high cubic volume (via higher ceilings), etc. The astonishing thing was how little difference in cost there was between low quality and high quality per m2. Fixing rubbish once it had been built was, by comparison, expensive.

Lisa Letendre
Lisa Letendre
1 month ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I live in the heart of Edinburgh in a brand new development. It has landscaped green areas and is 6 stories high. There is social housing, but to buy here (as we did) comes at a premium. There are less expensive new developments going up everywhere but these are depressing concrete blocks with no green common spaces. The building boom in and around Edinburgh is quite unbelievable and it appears this mixture of apartments, duplexes and townhouses are being bought before they are even completed. Maybe it’s the middle class English who are moving up to escape the housing crisis down south.

Bronwen Saunders
Bronwen Saunders
2 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Exactly. And the flats don’t have to be tower blocks. Even 4, 6 or 8 storeys would be vastly superior in terms of efficient land-use. The units in such blocks in the country where I live are typically more spacious and let in a lot more light than the average UK semi or terraced house, and frankly, there is no longer any need for everyone to have a garden (especially not when they pave it over or use it as a junkyard). A balcony large enough for a table and barbecue and communal green space between blocks is perfectly adequate for most people.
Re. Steve Murray’s post below, the Barbican and Park Hill in Sheffield are proof that such developments can be very popular with residents. The key is proper maintenance.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 months ago

Quite! Where are you living, if I might ask? The key is also a sense of pride and community – in cities people do tend to live closed off from one another and anonymously but an apartment block can also function as a kind of community/vertical village. If everyone knows each other and what they are doing then anti-social behaviour tends to get discouraged or stamped out. Or at least that is how it has worked in our house when we had an “element” (scribbling on walls and being sick in the stairwell, among other things).

Last edited 2 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Alan Tonkyn
Alan Tonkyn
2 months ago

I very much agree with your final remark, and those of Katharine Eyre above concerning her Viennese experience. Over 80% of the population of Singapore live in state-subsidised blocks of flats. These are made pleasant and tolerable by the provision of green spaces around them along with various places to eat and socialise on the ground floor, plus excellent maintenance. I acknowledge that having a garden (which we have) is a boon for families with children or grandchildren, but I also have to admit that it is now a luxury, and, as Bronwen Saunders has said above, is often too small and/or squalid to serve much of a purpose.

Gordon Hughes
Gordon Hughes
2 months ago

I have lived in the Barbican, in a flat in Edinburgh New Town and in an apartment in Washington DC as well as in several semi or detached houses. There is no doubt that well managed and maintained apartments can be pleasant to live in even with children. But all of this discussion ignores costs. Service charges and council tax in the Barbican cost more than most people are willing to pay for housing in total – and that was with the richest local authority in the UK. Similar in Edinburgh with all of the advantages or disadvantages of a Grade 1 listed building.
The point is that high quality apartment living, especially with communal green space, is often very expensive unless subsidised. The UK has made a mess of high rise apartment construction, management and maintenance largely because it did not want to pay the costs involved. Given the choice of expensive high quality apartments, cheaper low quality apartments, and affordable suburban boxes most people choose suburban boxes. Who is to say they are wrong?
Well designed terraces can be relatively efficient in terms of land use, but again this costs money in construction and maintenance. All of the problems come back to the ongoing costs of management and maintenance which are transferred to owner-occupiers but only if is housing that they like and are prepared to stay in for long periods.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
2 months ago

There is no housing crisis. We have more housing relative to population size than we had before the great boom started in the seventies. It’s simply that the housing market has become a massive ponzi scheme promoted by governments buying middle class votes with mass immigration and money printing.
The solution is simple: a council tax surcharge on all properties in band F and above with a 100% discount for young families.

Jonathan H
Jonathan H
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Factually correct re dwelling numbers. What about size and quality of dwellings?
https://lordslibrary.parliament.uk/housing-in-england-issues-statistics-and-commentary/#heading-2

Rick Sareen
Rick Sareen
2 months ago

If you own land you will always try to maximise the profit from developing it. Therefore you will not build low cost housing.
To overcome this, the government/council has to build such housing but to make that economically viable it should be amortised over 100 years rather than the 3-5 years a commercial company would look to make a return on capital.
By doing this – and not allowing any right to buy, only to rent – it would be economically possible to produce low cost housing rented out via means testing to the poorest, thus freeing up the cheaper end of the private market and so making housing affordable for those able to buy at the bottom end of the market.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Rick Sareen

I’m sorry but that’s just nonsense. Most developers maximise profit but building to the lowest quality the building code allows, and by cramming as many houses onto the land as they can. To me this is the very definition of low cost housing, or at least it would be if house prices weren’t astronomically high

mike otter
mike otter
2 months ago

Realpolitik says that the 40% in unacceptable housing probably can’t (or won’t) vote out the 60% in acceptable housing. The problem will be if the 40% do mobilise. Even died in the wool small “c” conservatives like myself are wondering if Tom Morello’s injunction to arm the homeless may happen if the Sunaks and Johnsons of the world continue to extract without putting anything in first. That said i see today’s under 30s whinging about rented accom. that my generation would’ve gladly swapped for our crumbling damp and cold ****holes. I recall squats in better nick than some of the crap you’d pay for in the 70s & 80s.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
2 months ago
Reply to  mike otter

Apologies for hijacking your thread, no space provided to post a new comment …
——————
Excellent article. This is the nub of it:
“The trouble, though, is that both sides are right: the economic liberals are right to point out that in its current form, the “growth” engine structurally requires ever more human bodies. And, the conservatives are also right that over time, if you keep adding people to a smallish island, eventually it will create tensions over how to allocate finite resources – especially in-demand land.”
Perhaps: https://steadystate.org/

Jonathan H
Jonathan H
2 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

John Stuart Mill came to prefer a stationary state, IIRC. (As well as moving a bit towards socialism from full-blown liberalism

Sami J
Sami J
1 month ago
Reply to  mike otter

The difference is you weren’t paying 60℅ of your pay for your accommodations with no hope of ever being able to afford anything better let alone anything of your “own.”

Steven Daniels
Steven Daniels
2 months ago

The ever present can is kicked down the road as I have seen it, by all parties.
Developers, plus other factors, factions, have created an ever dwindling number of able buyers for homes they build. They see no point in building homes that there are no buyers for. They carry on buying land in the knowledge that at some point in the future they might build on it, when it suits them. By not building on the land secured, and having planning permission given. They can manipulate to their hearts content the lack of affordable housing in areas and push through more planning permissions given on appeal due primarily to they themselves not building the affordable housing.
As long as developers are the largest donors, get the most in private meetings and have the highest amount of lobbyists in government. I don’t see this changing any time soon. Until someone grows the b***s to do the right thing rather than what they are lobbied to do.

There are answers to all these problems. It’s about listening to different people. Those that want to solve the problems, not continually profit from them.

William Cameron
William Cameron
2 months ago

House price increases are proof of shortage . As House prices are falling what is that proof of ?
Answer most of the housing shortage is a fiction caused by cheap money.

Deb Grant
Deb Grant
2 months ago

Where exactly is the ‘squalor?
I work in the voluntary sector and have done so in wards in the bottom 10% in the country. Most of the destitution I saw was the result of substance abuse, ditto drlinquent families and homelessness. Immigrants tend to be the group which end up living in crowded homes, for a variety of reasons, some cultural. Apart from ten million recent immigrants The other pressure on homes has been the rise of single and 2 person households.
It’s pointless sending young families to new developments where there are no jobs, services or public transport.
I agree that Western economies are a Ponzi scheme – but think that a dose of reality is long overdue on how difficult the housing issue is to solve and how expectations are way too high.

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 month ago

Good points well made.
UK population 2000 – 58m today 20m -20 odd years later 68m a 20% increase.
Persons per sq kilometre Europe 35 England 425 .
And GDP per capita in real terms being driven down. Lower level wages depressed by immigration- Immigration pay low levels of tax – nothing like enough to pay for its requirements in public services.
Why do it ? Because it enriches shareholders. So oddly Labour’s position will be to enrich shareholders and hurt workers .

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
2 months ago

Edited: as a mainly positive appraisal of Mary’s article has sat for long enough “Awaiting Approval” whilst others are published.

Pretty poor, Unherd.

Last edited 2 months ago by Steve Murray
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago

Let us not forget that Beveridge’s utopian dream and much more besides, was to be paid for by the generosity of the United States.

Melanie Mabey
Melanie Mabey
1 month ago

‘Faced with a choice between halting the engine of growth, or finding a new supply of fodder for the prosperity machine, Britain opted for the latter’. That’s the trouble with Ponzi schemes once started they lead to their own inexorable end and it’s not pretty. Professor Joseph Tainter ( in his book Collapse of Complex societies) said the only civilisation he knew in history that did ‘hop off’ this escalator was the Byzantine Empire (or the Roman Empire in the East) – which enabled its culture to persist for another thousand years, whereas the Western Roman Empire opted to continue the ponzi and lost it’s culture entirely and collapsed in ruins.

Rick Abrams
Rick Abrams
1 month ago

“Today, the demand for housing so radically outstrips supply that young people can’t afford to buy
1990 57.1 million
2020 67.1 million
Thus, the population increase was an average of 500,000 per year. With a household size of 2.5 ppl, that means only 200,000 housing units per year. Something other than demand is causing the price increases. Ten to one, it is the so-called Smart Planning, or Urban Densification. The number one factor that icnreases housing prices is N OT demand, but density.

The purpose of density is to make a few landowners in the core areas vastly more wealthy while they basically do NOTHING.