Thursday, 14 May 2015

I'll Huff and I'll Puff and I'll Blow Your House Down

Now my self imposed political purdah is officially over and we know the apocalypse will be upon us before the end of the next five years,  perhaps you would indulge while i break my fast with  a subject close to my heart.

Many children  born in the early 1950's entered the world  dragging  a package of poverty behind them in those post-war years.   my parents and sister shared a three bedroom house with a  grandmother,  an aunt and uncle,  a single uncle and a  guide dog.   six adults,  two children,  one large  dog,  three  bedrooms.   do the math !!

It wasn't until i was born that they were declared officially overcrowded.    my joyful appearance meant they qualified for one of the shiny, new council  houses  that had started sprouting up on every inch of wasteland.    the houses had big rooms with lots of window  and  a garden that went on forever.  it was the beginning of social housing estates with the catchphrase "a home for everyone".    i lived in that house and sun bathed in that garden till i was 16,  understanding that in his lifetime  my  father, a self employed builder,  wouldn't earn a fraction of the amount needed to buy a property and that a caring government had provided us with a home for life at a fair and affordable rent.    that house is now in private hands with an estimated value of £214,000.    do the math  !!

The  quote attributed to Mrs Thatcher that "a man over the age of 26 on a bus can count himself a failure"  may be mis-attributed,  it certainly can't be found in writing anywhere, but it sums up an attitude that became prevalent during her reign, possession equals success, support equals failure and social housing paves the way to Hades.    only.......we didn't end up in the land of the parents lived on the same street until their late 80's, my sister has been  in a large bright council flat in a different part of Bournemouth for four decades and i'm in a lovely little Housing Association Supported Housing cul-de-sac in Hexham.   look at it......not all hell and high water is it?

Why am i seething?   because, in it's nasty party, flog the lot  little mindset, our esteemed new government wants to sell off  housing association properties to tenants at huge discounts, in the same way as it has council housing, even though it's own ex-housing minister has said  "it could affect the future provision of affordable housing".

Now i wouldn't have a problem with this if the proceeds of this sell off were used to finance the building of replacement social housing.    if someone has paid rent for years it's understandable they would want to buy if they could afford,  but if the past holds any clues to the future this wont happen.   for every 21 council houses sold only one is built and that's one reason there are nearly 2 million people on waiting lists.    do the math  !!!

The other iniquity in all this is the evidence that 36% of houses bought from councils are being  re-let on the private market.   so, a low rent council  house is bought at a knock down price by the tenant,  he sits on it for a while then lets it out at full market rent often double what he was paying, he uses that rent to cover a mortgage for himself.  the new tenant of our ex-council house claims housing benefit  and  the council is hit by a double whammy.  do the math !!!     read the article below from The Independent to get the full picture

Social housing will continue to be essential as we will always have the underpaid.   on a minimum wage of £6.70 an hour it's impossible to dream of home owning let alone home maintaining.   do the math !!

If the roof flies off my flat in the middle of the night the state pension wouldn't even cover the call out fee for a roofer.   having lived in the private rented sector i know first hand the insecurity of living month by month wondering if a lease will be renewed, that's no way for anyone to live especially those with children.   we sell off our social housing at the risk of a huge increase in homelessness and slum landlords.   if you see a petition about this please sign it and keep a roof over the heads of those who need it.

Rant over for another few posts........thanks for listening.



Anonymous said...

I've just had a look on the homesearch register, just to see what social housing if any is available this week and was shocked when I read that now when placing your bid priority will be given to non CXXX (wont say the name you never know whose watching) tenants...In the past priority was always given to CXXX tenents, obviously this has been changed so they will not be obliged to continue the assured tenancy of the CXXX tenent and can then offer a piddling 5 yr lease to the others...Thank God I moved last year, if I was trying to do it now I would'nt stand a hope in hell...There thats my rant over now...xxVal

brokenbutstillstanding62 said...

rant accepted. there was a time that a tenant could stay in social housing for life, unless they broke the rules of tenancy agreement obviously. 5 years gives no security especially for those with kiddlies who maybe rely on family who live nearby and local school.