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Thursday, 9 February 2017

Sajid Javid just a Marxist central statist, says Guardian

Simon Jenkins has penned a corker of a column for today's Guardian - it should be compulsory reading for every town planner, every council officer and every elected politician in Britain. I, of course, commend it to you. Just to give you a flavour;
"Demand is not need. The famous quarter of a million is crude “family formation”. The implication is Leninist, that the state’s duty is a home for every citizen, irrespective of choice, price or district. I could answer that Britain has 700,000 empty houses, and London last year converted thousands of offices into flats. Is that the end of the shortage? Only a bureaucrat in a bubble could talk such nonsense, yet the BBC trots it out as a “crisis” day after day.

By imposing one size fits all building targets on all communities across Britain, Javid is seeking total mastery of the private housing sector. He is completing a last link in Labour’s 1940s nationalisation agenda, bringing to housing the same welfare centralisation, bureaucracy and insensitivity now afflicting the NHS."
He makes the moot point that a changing, dynamic economy such as Britain's needs a high degree of labour mobility - which means that a large rented sector is better for the nation than a workforce of inflexible, static owner-occupiers. By accident rather than design, this what we've got. 

He also identifies that housing isn't a British problem but a London problem, and the answer is to increase density in London. I've been saying this for years. The photo below is of a 1920s council house estate within Zone 3. I'll bet that most are now RTBs and rented out - and that such owners wouldn't turn down the offer of a free additional rental room for every one they own by co-operating in replacing these tiny, cold houses with four storey apartment blocks lining the road frontages.  

If councils can't stomach that, I've also long advocated building on sites such as Blackheath. There's nothing natural or heath-like about this vast space; it has no more ecological merit than a municipal gang-mowed playing field. The tiny corner of original gorse-clad, undulating heathland left intact on Blackheath is used by local dog-walkers, who come to watch the outdoors homosexuals playing in the bushes. 

Jenkins is also right that money needs to be switched to managed hostels for those simply incapable of sustaining themselves in their own rented flats. Anyone who has watched an episode or two of  those TV docs that follow high court bailiffs and sheriffs will know that evictions for non-payment are generally of two sorts; those just taking the piss, who move on from private landlord to private landlord as serial rippers-off, and those who genuinely just have such chaotic lives that they can't be trusted to live independently. The latter are deserving of care, and need to live in managed units being fed if necessary, and given some pocket money for clothes and cosmetics.

Yes, I know that 300k net migrants a year are a huge pressure on housing, but as Jenkins says, such pressure is demand and not need. They will have to live in garden sheds, garages and 6 to a room in their relatives' homes if they cannot afford commercial rents. Eventually things will find an equilibrium.   


Nick Drew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick Drew said...

I suspect Javid (who appears to be just a functionary & machine politician) is just doing what he is told ...

... by May, who is pretty much ideology-free (and, I fear, a bit thick)

someone in May's SPAD-hutch - the bearded one? - has been reading about how Harold Macmillan was told to build 300,000 houses a year in 1951, and like the good functionary he was, he just got on with it; and is deeply impressed by what a big triumph it all was, test of political will etc etc

Javid probably likes the way Macmillan's story turned out, too

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"a workforce of inflexible, static owner-occupiers"

I'll just point out quietly, that we wouldn't be so static or so inflexible if it weren't for a few State-mandated nuisances such as our outrageous conveyancing systems and the hated dreadful regressive nightmare that is Stamp Duty.

Mr Ecks said...

The 300000 migrants is your answer right there.

Turn 300000 into 0 and the problem goes away.


Weekend Yachtsman said...

Scotland must the only country in the civilised world to have enormous areas of empty space and a housing shortage, simultaneously.

The problem is the planning system. Those who can't or won't see this, are by and large those who believe that the answer to any problem caused by State meddling, is more State meddling.

Anonymous said...

In reference to your mention of Blackheath Raedwald... I disagree that such a place should be built on, just because the local municipal authority (the democratic peoples republic of Greenwich) have made an art-form out of its mismanagement. London needs places like Hyde Park, Blackheath and that one up in north west London, whatsit called .... Friern?

Rather, it is the elevation of the so-called "Green Belt" to the level of "sacred cow".

That system was developed in the 1930's to resist the effect of an increasing number of motor vehicles, an increasing population and the natural proclivities of human beings. Its purpose was to try to prevent "ribbon development" and in this it largely succeeded... Compare Spanish towns of similar size to our urban spaces... Spanish towns have a tendency to spread out in ribbons along the arterial roads, whereas our belted towns are largely contained within their boundaries.

Times change and there is far more sense in relaxing that green belt now, so that the land could be freed up for private development.... A particular kind of development, namely, luxury development.... If no plot smaller than 1/2 acre was specified, and no property that is not detached with at least four bedrooms is constructed. These comparatively large plots, would not just retain the overall visual effect of the green belt, it would actually enhance it.

In the area that I live, very close to the green belt, which begins at the end of my garden, there are vast tracts of land, that is pretty much sterile, too expensive for farmland, not allowed to be developed but effectively sterilised and only allowed to exist as grass, perhaps with a couple of horses.

Hand that green belt over to exclusive customers with money, and they will tend to their little half acre plots and turn the areas into green lungs, rather than desolate wasteland with a hedge.

This relaxation would then free up hundreds of thousands of more urban properties for refurbishment/redevelopment.

All we need to do is to get rid of centralist governments and the idiot so-called status quo of one professional idiot politician following another in their nasty game (confidence trick) of gaming the voters.


H said...

Interesting idea that owners should co-operate to replace small houses with larger blocks. There was a piece in the Standard (on-line, can't be bothered to look for it) about a former 50s council block in Clapham. All the flats were in private hands. The owners agreed to knock it down, build bigger (and better), using the sale of additional units created to fund the work. Each owner was left owning a substantially larger and nicer flat, with no net cash outlay. Win-win-win. Much to be encouraged.

Anonymous said...

"Turn 300000 into 0 and the problem goes away."

Better still, turn it into -300000. Britain is grossly over-populated. Under the previous Queen Elizabeth, the population was around 4 million, which seems to be about right.

Don Cox

John Brown said...

It is not possible to achieve “equilibrium” if we have 300K (I believe the real figure is actually much higher) immigrants arriving each year.

It is not just housing which needs to be built to accommodate these extra people but schools, hospitals, roads, prisons, and utility infrastructure such as power stations/renewable energy sources and reservoirs etc. etc..

The extra tax generated, if any, will simply not cover the cost of the population increase with inevitably bad consequences for our much loved institutions.

If high levels of immigration continue unabated our cities will be ringed by shanty towns as our country begins to look more like the rest of the world.

Poisonedchalice said...

Tax the migrants. They would stop coming unless they really meant to bring business with them.

Anonymous said...

You could fit five England's into the state of Texas and still have room for Wales - come to that you could fit the south of England into California's San Bernadino County. In a decade or so England's capital will obtain megacity status = 10,000,000 inhabitants.

Overpopulation will impoverish millions. The economy's ability to provide sufficient jobs as automation grows will take the unemployment figure we have now on a journey of ascent never before seen. The struggle for resources such as housing, health and education are beginning to bite. The struggle for energy and water will bite harder - either will have the people turning on the State.

This Atlantic island's biodiversity will continue to lose its capacity to renew itself due to human encroachment and the pollution that goes with it. The UK's population will go through the 70 million mark before a child born today reaches puberty. The ideal population for England is around 40 million. The future is going to be a very, very unpleasant.


Anonymous said...

'Demand is not need'.

If migrants were made to realise that they wouldn't automatically be housed just because they happen to turn up in our country perhaps they would think twice about making that journey in the first place.

Anonymous said...

The ideal population for England is four million, not forty million.

As for not providing housing for migrants, there is a wide variety of migrants. Some are skilled craftsmen or medical staff who have homes in their own countries but see better opportunities here. Others are refugees whose alternative to a shanty town in England is a refugee camp in Syria.

Neither would be discouraged by being told that they won't automatically be housed.

Don Cox

Dave_G said...

Lowering the population seems to be a common call and with the potential for robotic take-over of many manual labour and even blue collar jobs, cutting the population figures could be seen as the ONLY way forward.

I have great reservations for this being achieved by any social means let alone natural means which leaves 'artificial means' as the only other option.

So, what's it to be, plague or war?

Anonymous said...

"a London problem, and the answer is to increase density in London."

Well, we could of course stop importing illiterate innumerate foreigners and the TB, zika virus or other exotic diseases they bring with them.

Stop treating foreigners on the NHS unless they've got an insurance policy that will cover the entire cost of their treatment and recuperation.

Stop permitting the import of elderly sick relatives, unless the family can foot the bill for their welfare. Anyone who brings a elderly or sick relative into the UK should deposit a substantial bond to cover any care that person may need, repayable when they leave the UK.

Stop paying benefits of any description, especially housing benefit to any old Tom, Dick or Harry who washes up in the UK.

Anonymous said...

Dave_G said @ 16:40

'Lowering the population seems to be a common call and with the potential for robotic take-over of many manual labour and even blue collar jobs..'

Oh no, not just those jobs; which have been slowly disappearing for some time now. AI will be taking jobs further up the pay scale sooner than you think:

Report: Up to 250,000 UK Government Employees Could Be Replaced by Robots

Seriously we don't need migrants. What we do need is shift in thinking that takes into account how in the decades to come a third, possibly a half, of the working-age population will never have a job.


Anonymous said...

"Seriously we don't need migrants. "
So who will do the child bearing? Not your females it seems.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

Send 'em to Vancouver