Homes for sons and daughters, mothers and fathers

November 13, 2012 6:01 pm

Britain is gripped by the biggest housing crisis in a generation. On housing supply, affordability and ownership, as a nation, we’ve reached crunch point.

The gap between the number of new households formed each year and homes built is now running an annual deficit of over one hundred thousand homes.  And it was the collapse in housebuilding, leading to a severe contraction in the construction industry that in turn was the single biggest factor plunging Britain back into double-dip recession

Earlier this year, private rents hit record highs and the gap between rental and wage inflation has continued to widen. And in 2010, it would have taken the average low-to-middle income household 31 years to accumulate a deposit for the average first home if they saved 5% of their income each year and had no access to the ‘bank of Mum and Dad’.

As a result we’ve seen the rise of “generation rent” as those locked out of home ownership find themselves in the private rented sector. And this generation now includes young professionals and over 1.1 million families with children and rapidly rising.

In the absence of government action, the impact of the housing crisis on this generation of families and young people in the future could be very significant. The result of increasing numbers of people, including millions of families, not being able to buy their own homes will not just be their failure to fulfil what many see as a strong aspiration in Britain for home ownership but an inability to benefit from the many advantages that it offers.

Owning a home provides more than just an investment. For a family it is the chance to be able to put down roots, to create a stable environment to bring up children – a place for them to do homework and for quality family time. Home ownership allows people to feel a part of, and invest in, a community. In short, home ownership provides opportunities that private renting doesn’t presently offer and social housing is providing to fewer and fewer people post the Government’s reforms on security of tenure.

The danger is that with more and more people unable to buy and having to rent privately at increasingly unaffordable levels, there will be less opportunities for stability and standards of living will fall. There is also an additional danger of opening an intergenerational divide between the perceived haves of the older generation who own their houses and have paid off mortgages whilst the next generation can’t get on the ladder.

So the housing crisis represents a significant challenge for Labour. To tackle it, we mustn’t allow generational warfare between the haves and have nots but we must instead unite them in common cause.

We must create a great national consensus that housing matters and should be a priority area. The truth is, decent homes for all are not just important to those in need of it but are hugely beneficial for society as a whole. Poor housing is estimated to cost the NHS £2.5bn per year, while £15bn is said to be the amount in lost earnings as a result of lower educational attainment arising from a generation of school-age children growing up in poor and overcrowded conditions.

We must highlight that house building is key to economic recovery. It was major programmes of housebuilding that were central to ending the Depression and then rebuilding Britain from the ashes of War. It was housebuilding that was central to building modern Britain in the 50s and 60s, including the famous commitment by Harold Macmillan to build quarter of a million Council homes. And that is why Labour has called for the building of 125,000 affordable homes now,  paid for by the money raised from the 4G auction and a repeat of the bankers bonus tax to build us out of recession.

Thirdly, many of those who are approaching paying off their mortgage will have children of their own and will be worried where their children will live and bring up their families. We should use this to build a consensus and coalition of support behind a major uplift in the supply of new homes for their sons and daughters, including support for and not resistance to building new homes. Ask people do they want new homes where they live, a majority say no. Ask them do want new homes where they live so young people can live locally including their sons and daughters, a majority say yes.

Fourthly, Labour must remain firmly as the party of aspiration. That means supporting those people who aspire to buy and helping them achieve their dream of owning their own home. But it also means supporting those that don’t want to buy and those that do but can’t. Backing aspiration is more than just supporting home ownership it is also backing people’s aspirations for their families.

And the simple reality is that while Labour will do everything possible to help people buy, many will be renting for much longer than in the past. So we must look at others ways of supporting their aspirations including a new generation of homes for social rent and reform of the private rented sector to ensure it provides for greater stability, predictability and affordability and allows people to treat their private rented property like their home. The 1.1 million and growing number of families in privately rented homes need to be able to plan where they send their kids to school and how to manage their household budgets.

Lastly, it means recognising that the housing market isn’t just failing young people but older people too. The ageing society is one of the most well-documented facts of our time, but our  housing system has been slow to adapt to the changing needs of older people. Labour should offer more and better housing options tailored to the needs and aspirations of older people, a new deal on housing for older people. This includes helping those that wish to stay in their home to do so, helping those that want to, to downsize, and assisting increasing options for, residential care. Never again the Care Homes that have disgraced our country but instead  notions like ExtraCare Retirement Villages where people live happier, healthier, longer lives. A sustained focus on housing options for older people will also free up homes for the younger generation.

Post-World War Two, both Labour and Conservative Governments acted to tackle the housing  crisis after the blitz left much housing in need of rebuilding and repair. But it was more than that. William Beveridge identified poor housing, in 1942,  as one of his “giants” for future governments to attack, considering, as he did, poor housing to be one of the major factors in explaining poverty and lack of hope and opportunity in Britain. Attlee, Macmillan and their generation believed in a One Nation Housing policy.

Today, 70 years on, post the financial crash, the housing giant  casts a long-shadow once again, threatening to blight the lives of millions of all ages. The challenges we face on housing may be different this time around but the threat to opportunity, equality, hope and aspiration remains the same.

Labour must be ready once again to re-build Britain as One Nation as those post war Governments did 70 years ago.

Jack Dromey, lifelong trade union and housing activist, is MP for Birmingham Erdington and Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister.

This piece forms part of Jon Cruddas’s Guest Edit of LabourList
  • Quiet_Sceptic

    Great message, you’re selling to the converted.

    What is missing and what was missing while Labour was in government was effective policies to deliver the vision that Jack outlines.

    125,00 affordable homes is good for year 1 but then what?

    What is Labour going to do to curb the relentless rise of the buy-to-let market, who are in direct competition for homes with the would-be first time buyers? Building homes is good but not so great if a large proportion are snapped up by investors – how about some policies to tilt the market in favour of homeowners, perhaps a review of the interest tax reliefs on BTL properties?

    What I fear is a lot of warm words but precious little in the way of effective policy to deliver what we preach.

    • http://twitter.com/howarthm Meg Howarth

      Let’s remember that there are numerous landlords amongst Labour MPs (not only as to be expected amongst other party members), some quite high-flying. A scan of the Register of Members Interests will give some idea – but NOT the complete picture: property in a spouse’s name doesn’t need to be recorded; a weakness for transparency:

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmregmem.htm

      Local Labour – and Coop Party! – councillors too are landlords. Worth noting that rhis example, which may well be one of the most egregious, is in the borough of Newham, where only this week the council has confirmed that it will be sending the homeless out of London for lack of sufficient available private accommodation. Perhaps the landlady above could help by letting her properties to those in need of one home, not several

      http://bit.ly/RpJtiQ.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    I do not for a moment have a problem with the “macro” effect of this policy: national tax and windfall receipts being spent on paying for the construction of houses. But what of the “micro”? How is the money to be transferred from Government to builders (all privately run on a “for profit” basis), and from there to private purchasers who pay money for an asset then when paid for is privately owned? What is the basis for selection of the “lucky buyers”?

    Labour has been “mooting” this as a policy for several years, but there is no detail on how it would work, and every danger that private speculators, whether building companies or buy to let landlords gathering about like vultures to pick off the free money. And when it is gone, it is gone.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    I do not for a moment have a problem with the “macro” effect of this policy: national tax and windfall receipts being spent on paying for the construction of houses. But what of the “micro”? How is the money to be transferred from Government to builders (all privately run on a “for profit” basis), and from there to private purchasers who pay money for an asset then when paid for is privately owned? What is the basis for selection of the “lucky buyers”?

    Labour has been “mooting” this as a policy for several years, but there is no detail on how it would work, and every danger that private speculators, whether building companies or buy to let landlords gathering about like the vultures to pick off the free money. And when it is gone, it is gone.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    I do not for a moment have a problem with the “macro” effect of this policy: national tax and windfall receipts being spent on paying for the construction of houses. But what of the “micro”? How is the money to be transferred from Government to builders (all privately run on a “for profit” basis), and from there to private purchasers who pay money for an asset then when paid for is privately owned? What is the basis for selection of the “lucky buyers”?

    Labour has been “mooting” this as a policy for several years, but there is no detail on how it would work, and every danger that private speculators, whether building companies or buy to let landlords gathering about like the vultures to pick off the free money. And when it is gone, it is gone.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    I do not for a moment have a problem with the “macro” effect of this policy: national tax and windfall receipts being spent on paying for the construction of houses. But what of the “micro”? How is the money to be transferred from Government to builders (all privately run on a “for profit” basis), and from there to private purchasers who pay money for an asset then when paid for is privately owned? What is the basis for selection of the “lucky buyers”?

    Labour has been “mooting” this as a policy for several years, but there is no detail on how it would work, and every danger that private speculators, whether building companies or buy to let landlords gathering about like the vultures to pick off the free money. And when it is gone, it is gone.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    I do not for a moment have a problem with the “macro” effect of this policy: national tax and windfall receipts being spent on paying for the construction of houses. But what of the “micro”? How is the money to be transferred from Government to builders (all privately run on a “for profit” basis), and from there to private purchasers who pay money for an asset then when paid for is privately owned? What is the basis for selection of the “lucky buyers”?

    Labour has been “mooting” this as a policy for several years, but there is no detail on how it would work, and every danger that private speculators, whether building companies or buy to let landlords gathering about like the vultures to pick off the free money. And when it is gone, it is gone.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    I do not for a moment have a problem with the “macro” effect of this policy: national tax and windfall receipts being spent on paying for the construction of houses. But what of the “micro”? How is the money to be transferred from Government to builders (all privately run on a “for profit” basis), and from there to private purchasers who pay money for an asset then when paid for is privately owned? What is the basis for selection of the “lucky buyers”?

    Labour has been “mooting” this as a policy for several years, but there is no detail on how it would work, and every danger that private speculators, whether building companies or buy to let landlords gathering about like the vultures to pick off the free money. And when it is gone, it is gone.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    I do not for a moment have a problem with the “macro” effect of this policy: national tax and windfall receipts being spent on paying for the construction of houses. But what of the “micro”? How is the money to be transferred from Government to builders (all privately run on a “for profit” basis), and from there to private purchasers who pay money for an asset then when paid for is privately owned? What is the basis for selection of the “lucky buyers”?

    Labour has been “mooting” this as a policy for several years, but there is no detail on how it would work, and every danger that private speculators, whether building companies or buy to let landlords gathering about like the vultures to pick off the free money. And when it is gone, it is gone.

  • Daniel Speight

    Unfortunately back in 1945 the PLP consisted of big people with big ideas. Today it consists of …

  • AlanGiles

    Homes for sons and daughters, mothers and fathers” DON’T have to be privately owned. We used to have a thing called council housing. We could have built a lot more of it from 1997 onwards, but as Blears once said, the New Labour shower “were’nt interested”. Neither, it seems, are you.

    In other parts of Europe and America people don’t feel they HAVE to own their own homes, they are perfectly happy to rent and don’t feel themselves second-class citizens because they do, what a Labour government (“One nation” or otherwise) should do, is what they should have done 15 years ago – make sure a full programme of council house building is implemented so that people are not at the mercy of private landlords who buy to rent at inflated prices. But I doubt they will, because, let’s be frank about it, all Labour is going to do is to apply a fresh coat of paint over the failed policies of the last 15 years, and promising more than they even intend to deliver. This three year policy review is as pointless as it is tedious. By the way, jack, you must tell us one day how you managed to get yourself on an all women shortlist – was temporary surgery involved?

    • http://twitter.com/wj557 wj

      But Labour, when in power, were actually bribing councils to privatise their housing stock.

      I have no idea why they abandoned their council house electorate – these people were traditionally strong Labour voters.

    • Quiet_Sceptic

      A lot of people aspire to owning a home.

      More council housing would be good but on its own it isn’t sufficient, it doesn’t speak to the millions out there who don’t want or would never be eligible for a council house, it speaks to a narrow band of Labour voters and misses the majority.

      • Dave Postles

        There are thousands of people about to be expelled from London and thousands more throughout the country in bed-and-breakfast accommodation who would probably be delighted to have a decent council house. Additionally, how many people in privately-rented accommodation would prefer to be housed in a council house? From today, as a result of this miserable government, the responsibility of councils for the homeless (which includes those thousands in b&b accommodation) extends no further than getting them a 1-year lease in privately-rented accommodation. That’s how low we have sunk.

        • Quiet_Sceptic

          The theme is One Nation – well absent some sort of economic miracle from heaven, government is not going to have the funds to build the vast amounts of council housing required to meet the needs of everyone.

          Building more homes for private ownership and building more council homes are not mutually exclusive, particularly in a recession with lots of labour unemployed. There’s no conflict between the two – we need both.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            Says who??? If government can print money to try and reflate the economy, then it can build houses

          • Dave Postles

            The supply of private housing is a matter for the private market. The construction industry is sitting on acres and acres of land. What is necessary is the demand for housing and for the builders to construct at affordable prices. Government should not be interfering there, except to promote the demand. One way of promoting that general demand is by building council housing to soak up unemployment. The government should concentrate on providing public housing and leave those who want their own houses to work within the private market.

      • AlanGiles

        It begs the question though as to WHY British people feel they need to have to own their own homes, when you have Americans and Europeans who don’t regard renting as some sort of social stigma. Perhaps re-education is the answer?. Keeping Up with the Joneses (even if you can’t afford to) seems like dirty pride to me.

        • Quiet_Sceptic

          To turn it around – why do many on the Left dislike the concept of people owning their own homes? Why is it better that they be owned by either the state or some other landlord?

          Owning your own home is empowering, it is your property and you are free to do what you want with it. You are not dependent on the landlord to carry out repairs or have to ask permission to decorate or change it or risk being asked to leave at the landlords choosing.

          It is also akin to a pension, if you pay off the mortgage before retirement you have low cost (maintenance costs) accommodation for the rest of your life.

          [Edit] US home ownership rates are very close to the UK so the popularity of home-ownership isn’t unique to the UK.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            The point is that mass home ownership has gone and isn’t coming back anytime soon. Note that our economic problems are badly skewed by the dominance of house prices and the ever climbing cost of housing. Germany benefits greatly from not being in hock to this.

          • Quiet_Sceptic

            Mass ownership hasn’t gone though – the houses and still there and they are still owned but since the rise of Buy-to-Let we now have a small proportion of the population owning far more of the housing stock than previously. We have a concentration of housing wealth in the hands of the few.

            Are you arguing that the rise of the rental market is a positive development? That Labour shouldn’t try to reverse the concentration of housing wealth, that we should be happy with the current state of affairs?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            No. I’m saying we should not expect home ownership to grow any more and that social housing is a better alternative, preferably answerable via local democracy – council housing, in other words. We can start by compulsory purchase of all empty houses for regeneration and use.

          • Quiet_Sceptic

            Homeownership isn’t growing, it’s been steadily shrinking but not because of an expanding social housing sector but because a growing private rental sector. Growth which comes at the expense of those on lower incomes being priced out of buying and into supporting the growing number of private landlords.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            Exactly – so this is what we need to change. Social housing, not private landlords, and the return of rent control

          • Alexwilliamz

            Don’t disagree about owning your own home, but in most cases this is not so. Most of us only own a small fraction of our homes, and the nature of house prices means you are rarely able to afford an adequate family home in the first instance. So the final mortgage is probably going to run into your retirement. Perhaps if everyone genuinely believes in home ownership we should do everything to make them affordable, but the truth is too many people are invested into the system that real efforts to see house prices decline to make this vision fair for all. As a result your arguments does fall into the alright for those who can afford it argument. No one here is arguing against private house ownership, it is the idea that this should be considered the norm and that renting should be considered so terrible. To deal with some of these issues it seems appropriate to suggest that building council housing will both garuntee an affordable rental cost (saving housing benefit costs at the same time!) and provide a counterbalance to housing bubbles. In terms of buyback, I’d have no issue with some kind of buyback for people who have lived in a house for over 20 years.

          • Quiet_Sceptic

            I want to see government stabilise house prices so that over time they become more affordable as incomes rise whilst prices are held steady. I want to see more individuals and families being able to buy without needing lifetime mortgages or huge levels of debt.

            Building more council homes is a key part of a housing policy but on it’s own is not sufficient. It ignores the huge sector of society (the middle) that are not rich or wealthy by any measure, are priced out of buying but too well off to be eligible for council or social housing. Further, with ~1.7M families on the waiting lists (as of 2008/9), even with a huge building programme, it is going to be a long time until a council house becomes an option for the majority.

            My issue with renting, particularly the private rental sector and the huge expansion we’ve seen over the past 15 years, is that it is a massive driver of inequality, particularly in the long-term. Families who would have bought and be building up their own assets as they pay off their mortgages are now working away supporting a landlord class accumulate housing wealth.

            The other huge issue with renting – what happens on retirement? Pension provision is pretty inadequate as it is, where are families going to find the extra £5, 6, 7k a year to pay their rent? More retired families pushed into benefit dependency? If they’d been able to buy they’d own their home outright by then.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            I’m not convinced that its possible for government to do this, simply because houses are now so expensive that they have a significant impact on the economy more widely.

            You are assuming that social housing will always be residual – that’s only a relatively recent situation. I don’t look towards private landlord renting as a solution, unless we move along the German road of strict rent control, Which answers your final point.

  • Serbitar

    I believe that during the Labour Party’s previously uninterrupted thirteen year period in office Labour permitted approximately 3,000 council homes to be built. The party also chose to do absolutely nothing to bring in rent controls to curb profiteering landlords from charging astronomical rents or to improve the security of tenants forced to rent property from the private sector because social housing had because of government policy become almost universally inaccessible to millions who needed it.

    I believe I’m also correct when I state that EVERY previous post-war CONSERVATIVE government built MORE council housing than the LABOUR PARTY chose to from 1997 to 2010.

    If I’m wrong I would invite Mr. Dromey to correct me.

    So when shrill little Liam Byrne has another tantrum and bleats about how Beveridge would be shocked at the size of the Housing Benefit budget and begins ranting about regional caps and such like designed to force the poorest of the poor into the poorest extant housing, just remember that it was not the extravagance of benefit claimants but the Labour Party which is responsible this travesty by breaking every promise as far as council housing went and failing to implement a fair rents policy as far as private landlords are concerned to curb their excesses in a sensible manner.

    • AlanGiles

      I remember the day that Gordon Brown took over from Blair he actually said in his first statement that he would “commit” to a large scale social housing building programme. Nothing was ever heard of it again.

      I very much regret that “One Nation” Labour will be exactly the same as New Labour, in that it will spout lots of hot air and deliver next to nothing.

      I have to say that the articles commissioned by Mr Cruddas this week has done nothing to dispel my fears that he is a man more disposed to talk than action, and the pretence of this “policy review” should be bought to a hasty conculusion wheteher it lasts another 2 weeks or 2 years the end result will be more of the same.

      • Serbitar

        As dispiriting as it is predictable isn’t it?

        Can’t be too long now before one of James Purnell’s cat’s-paws, e.g., Graham Cook, starts pontificating about welfare policy and the “tough choices” that “One Nation” Labour will be “forced” to “courageously” make if elected in 2015… blah, blah, blah.

        Personally I think this “One Nation” schtick will quickly become as irritating as Byrne’s defunct “Responsibility Agenda” or Cameron’s invisible “Big Society” or Osborne’s “All In It Together” nonsense, i.e., a meaningless mantra for the party faithful to chant until they begin to realise that nobody has a clue as what the heck it means and it rapidly loses potency. Nothing I have read so far leads me to believe that the suffering of the poor, sick or disabled would be much different in “One Nation” than the “Big Society”.

        As far as I can see the whole project is little more than a rebranding exercise.

        • AlanGiles

          Only too true I am afraid (Mr C has already promised/threatened an article from Mr Cooke BTW). I really despair. This great thinker – our star pupil Cruddas J seems to have not moved beyond soundbites. If any more writers on LL say “One Nation” this week” it will begin to sound as trite as “Persil washes whiter” or “Domestos kills 99% of all known germs”. Actually it sounds as nebulous as that supermarket who manage to produce adverts to tell us that “4936″ of their products this week are cheaper than the other lot (can we be sure they have’nt miscounted, could it possibly have been as many as 4937, or even 4935 when a nice record came up on “Asda FM”.

          After all this time, and after all the windy rhetoric, we are just getting repeat after repeat of things we have heard a hundred times before. I think we ought to take a look at Jon’s homework book:

          “Jon Cruddas (aged 50 and a half). Project: Policy review…….

          er, um……….. “One Nation” (check with history master, was it Disraeli who said that or the Queen at the Olympics?).

          Er, ….. um…….. ”

          Has anybody written an article that is truly inspiring on LL this week – it has been all anodyne “let’s not offend anybody, especially not News International” generalisations. Getting the writers to say what they mean, without coming over all Radio 3 is like trying to trap a bar of soap in a bubble bath.

          Has anybody written an article that has made ex party members want to return to the fold?. I would astonished if anybody found it so. It’s been as predictable and banal as a commercial for DFS

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            I’m far less of a critic of the current leadership than many, but I think the past week has been platitudes, cliches and little more

  • Guest

    I am similarly sceptical about the need for home ownership, to create ” one nation” we have to re-build community, this has been under attack from every government since Thatcher including

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnnyfstoke John Farrar

    I am sceptical about the need for home ownership, if we are to build “one nation” we need to re-build community, every government since Thatcher including New Labour has promoted individualism at the expense of community. Decent housing is at the heart of community. We need a mixed housing economy which values people and their needs before profit and shareholders and policy that is controlled at a local level based on community needs. I am perfectly happy for successful people to own mansions as long as they do not avoid tax on their earnings but we need to ensure that all people have decent homes in order to be “one nation” whether they own them or not , from the stroppy teenager who no longer fits in at home to our old people. There is enough money in this country to provide this, what is lacking is the political will to implement it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

    The mistake we make is to think that the days of cheap , easily available home ownership is going to make a comeback. Prices have simply become too high, and unless we are going to return to five-times-salary mortgages, the future is going to be much more about renting.
    So – who do we want to be involved ? Labour should give councils something to do again, and re-establish the public housing role. Why we ever allowed it to be taken over by so-called ‘social’ landlords is a mystery

  • Quiet_Sceptic

    Well someone has to own the houses, better that the working people living in them own them rather than the homes being a mere line item in an absentee landlords housing portfolio.

    On the topic of community – who do you think has the biggest stake and concern about their community? Owners living there everyday, who’ve sunk most of their savings and taken on a debt to buy a home there, or the landlord/tenant model; the tenant who’s commitment to the area for at most 6 months and the landlord who is focused on financial return.

  • Quiet_Sceptic

    Well someone has to own the houses, better that the working people living in them own them rather than the homes being a mere line item in an absentee landlords housing portfolio.

    On the topic of community – who do you think has the biggest stake and concern about their community? Owners living there everyday, who’ve sunk most of their savings and taken on a debt to buy a home there, or the landlord/tenant model; the tenant who’s commitment to the area for at most 6 months and the landlord who is focused on financial return.

  • Quiet_Sceptic

    Well someone has to own the houses, better that the working people living in them own them rather than the homes being a mere line item in an absentee landlords housing portfolio.

    On the topic of community – who do you think has the biggest stake and concern about their community? Owners living there everyday, who’ve sunk most of their savings and taken on a debt to buy a home there, or the landlord/tenant model; the tenant who’s commitment to the area for at most 6 months and the landlord who is focused on financial return.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

      But many people will now never be in a position to own a house. So, why assume the only other option is a private landlord? Council housing is the alternative.

    • Serbitar

      I’m afraid Mr. Homfray is correct.

      The days of cheap money are over, quite possibly forever. In the new climate these days mortgagors often have to put up a deposit of 30% to 40% of a property’s purchase price in order to secure a sensible deal, which is often impossible while paying a high rent as a tenant. The housing boom also completely distorted the British economy locking away trillions in massively overvalued assets, i.e., houses purchased as investments rather than as homes to live in. All of the foregoing coupled with a dire lack of investment in social housing and profiteering landlords has resulted in the perfect storm: collapse in the construction industry, ballooning housing benefit budget, catastrophic dearth of affordable accommodation, unobtainable mortgages and/or negative equity for far too many.

      Eventually the housing market will painfully “correct” itself as property loses value over time in comparison to other costs and wages but for millions renting will replace home ownership however much aspiration and perspiration those concerned invest in such a dream. If we fail to build social housing and curb the excesses of private landlords the result will be an astronomical and increasing housing benefit bill and insecure tenancies for renters.

    • http://www.facebook.com/johnnyfstoke John Farrar

      I think its about balance , not sure ownership necessarily equates to community involvement , I do know many people in rented accomodation who are active in the communitybecause all of their time and money does not go into paying for and maintaining their home I am in favour of people having a life that enables them to live,

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    Eddie Izzard commits to running for “Parliament or Mayor” by 2020

    Comic and actor Eddie Izzard has reaffirmed his longstanding commitment to entering electoral politics by 2020, by going for a Labour parliamentary selection or London Mayor. Izzard is a lifelong Labour supporter (and Londoner) and has spoken in the past of his desire to become London Mayor. However, the recent announcement that Boris Johnson does not intend to stand for a third term has raised the chances of Labour winning the mayoralty in 2016, and thus there being a Labour incumbent in […]

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  • News Jowell takes on new London-based role before potential mayoral bid

    Jowell takes on new London-based role before potential mayoral bid

    Tessa Jowell has taken on a new role lecturing at the London School of Economics (LSE), which should give her the time to concentrate on a likely campaign to be Labour’s candidate for London Mayor. Jowell, who is standing down as an MP next year, has started her post as Professor of Practice with the LSE Cities and in the Department of Government part-time. Jowell is currently considered one of the front-runners in the race for Labour’s candidacy, but all […]

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  • Comment What Scotland requires from Labour right now is energy and clarity

    What Scotland requires from Labour right now is energy and clarity

    There are just over two weeks left until a decision that will alter Scotland – and Britain – irrevocably and immensely. Many voters have already completed their postal votes, and the campaign is as intense as any Scotland has known. The impact of a yes vote in the independence referendum would reverberate through the entire nation like an earthquake. Our nation as we currently understand it would cease to exist, a constitutional crisis the likes of which hasn’t been seen […]

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