Cameron to end lifetime council tenancies


by Newswire    
9:01 am - August 4th 2010

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An end to lifetime council tenancies was signalled today by David Cameron as he warned the coming public spending cuts will not be restored when the economy recovers.

Cameron said he wanted to see fixed terms for all new council and housing association tenancies lasting as little as five years to help increase social mobility.

The prime minister admitted that “not everyone will support this and there will be quite a big argument”.

The homeless charity Shelter said tonight: “We do not believe the big question in housing policy is security of tenure for new tenants. The prime minister has sidestepped the fundamental cause of our housing crisis – the desperate lack of affordable housing supply.”

…more at The Guardian

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Reader comments


Quite right, Mr Cameron. I hear there is one house in central London that the same family has been living in, at the taxpayer’s expense, for hundreds of years. Oh hang on, that’s not what he means now is it…

2. gwenhwyfaer

Security of tenure is a pretty big issue for some of us. As in, the total lack of it in the private sector, unless you live in Scotland. A private tenant in England or Wales can be evicted, without reason or right of appeal, in two months.

@2 It all depends on your contract. Normally the agreement will cover at least a year, often with a six month break clause that either side can use. Even if you have a monthly rolling tenancy then the flip side of “A private tenant in England or Wales can be evicted, without reason or right of appeal, in two months” is that the tenant can leave, for the same level of explanation and lack of appeal in the same time frame.

The idea that, because at one point in your life you qualified for state housing you are therefore entitled to it in perpetuity seems a little odd. Lee Jasper was in council accommodation when he was Ken’s right hand man I seem to recall – doesn’t that sort of thing contribute to shortages?

Falco – actually, a tenant can leave with just 1 month’s notice.

Typically people get a 6-month shorthold tenancy that is automatically converted into a rolling tenancy at the end of the six month period. There’s generally nothing (except letting agent laziness) in the way of contacting them after the 6 months and negotiating a new 6-month shorthold.

I suspect shorthold tenancies aren’t the only type that are available – but it’s all I’ve ever been offered.

6. David Boothroyd

This is a straightforward betrayal of a clear election pledge by Cameron and the Conservatives, although I have to confess I never believed the pledge in the first place. Conservative housing ideologues have been angling to get rid of secure tenancies behind the scenes through the Localis think tank, and if you want to see the rest of the agenda you could try reading their “Principles for Social Housing Reform“.

With regard to private tenancies, those created before 1988 (before assured shorthold came in) are effectively secure although there are not many left. It is possible for private landlords accidentally to create a new secure private tenancy but since 1996 the default has been assured shorthold.

The idea that, because at one point in your life you qualified for state housing you are therefore entitled to it in perpetuity seems a little odd.

Quite.

nice

Does anyone think the current state of housebuilding relates to Cameron’s proposal to end lifetime council tenancies?

“Housebuilding fell to its lowest level for more than 60 years in 2009 – with just 118,000 new homes completed, according to government figures. The number is the lowest since 1946, when official records began and represents a 17 per cent drop on the number completed in 2008.”
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/construction_and_property/article7032641.ece

Curiously, In the course of a mild bout of clearing out, I came across a print out of Tony Blair’s personal election manifesto for his Sedgefield constituency in the general election on 9 June 1983, when he was first elected to Parliament.

It makes interesting reading, for instance:

- An immediate 50% increase in house building

- Labour believes in defence and in NATO membership but we don’t need dangerous and costly Trident and Cruise missiles, which just escalate the nuclear arms race

10. Matthew Stiles

Amazing how the right bang on about getting the state off people’s backs and then back proposals that the state should be able to kick people out of their own home.

David Cameron wants to see an end to people having lifetime tenancies for people living in council housing, this more than any other anything since the coalition came to power demonstrates their fundamental disconnection from life as most people know it.

The majority of people living in council housing do so because they can’t afford a mortgage and don’t want to be held to ransom by dodgy private landlords. Add to this the fact that, however tough George Osborne tires to sound when he squeaks at them have dramatically raised the bar when it comes to qualifying for a mortgage and things look bleak indeed.

If they had an ounce of credibility left the ‘liberal’ half of the coalition would be pushing for councils to be given the funding to provide more not less affordable housing, instead they seem content to let thousands of vulnerable people be pushed into the arms of a new generation of slum landlords; proof if you ever needed it that the fire sale of their principles is almost complete.

Amazing how the right bang on about getting the state off people’s backs and then back proposals that the state should be able to kick people out of their own home.

Is a tenant’s council house his “own home”?

I’d have a teensy bit more faith in this policy if:

a) they tightened up private landlord’s regulations and made the “good landlord” schemes compulsory rather than voluntary and
b) built hundreds of thousands of new good quality council homes

as they are doing neither one can only assume they enjoy being the nasty party. What do the coalition partners think of all of this?

14. Sevillista

What liars Cameron and the Tories are.

“In an exclusive interview with Inside Housing the Conservative leader said Labour had made allegations about his party’s intentions which were ‘simply untrue’. The argument with Labour is about two main allegations: that the Conservatives would end security of tenure for future social tenants and put up rents of existing tenants

Mr Cameron said the ‘compassionate Conservative Party’ believes in the importance of social housing ‘and the security it provides’.

He said: ‘We support social housing, we will protect it, and we respect social tenants’ rights.’ A spokesperson for the Conservatives added that the party had ‘no policy to change the current or future security of tenure of tenants in social housing’.

Mr Healey said he wanted a commitment that such policies would be ruled out in the future. ‘These are carefully calculated warm but weasel words’, he added”

http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/news/housing-management/cameron-social-tenants-have-nothing-to-fear/6509618.article

“the state should be able to kick people out of their own home”

It’s council housing. The state owns it, and rents it to people. I thought you believed the state should be able to do whatever it likes to things it owns? Big state and all that?

16. Gaf the Horse

Isn’t the more worrying bit the quote “he warned the coming public spending cuts will not be restored when the economy recovers”? So we’ve been sold the public sector cuts as necessary to reduce the deficit, (whether you believe this or not), but the Tories, (and presumably the LDs), are actually planning to permanently reduce the size the state, regardless of the economic situation.

Many of those who have controlled rents and secure tenancies are pensioners. Increased rents would most likely come from social security if they are to remain homed (I presume only toryban extremists want to see pensioners sleeping rough).

There is an issue of pensioners, singly or as couples, living in social housing designed for families. I would like to see efforts made to encourage them to move into more appropriate housing while retaining their current protections. Of course, its unlikely the tories would be able to do this without finding some way of being nasty to people.

As usual, Labour should have dealt with the problem but failed to do so.

18. Gaf the Horse

Has just turned up on my Guardian news feed (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/aug/03/david-cameron-public-sector-cuts-permanent).

So the coalition has lied to us. They say the cuts are necessary to reduce the deficit, yet they are planning to make them permanent, a completely different argument.

I’m more than happy to listen to a case for making these cuts permanent, and I’m sure that there are good arguments on both sides, but this isn’t the discussion that is happening.

19. David Boothroyd

What, Labour should have forcibly evicted pensioners from homes they have lived in for decades, just because they happen to be council tenants? Can you imagine what the Daily Mail would have made of that?

How is Cameron planning to remove lifetime council homes a liberal conspiracy. sounds rather like a Tory policy to me(Or a BNP policy that targets immigrants and ethnic minorities).

@19 David Boothroyd

I can imagine ways of dealing with the issues I mentioned that do not involve eviction. I can’t see why they couldn’t have their existing protected status retained when they move. The scheme could be voluntary but incentives could be offered.

Labour could have done something along these lines but didn’t even consider it as an issue, preferring new building schemes that built terrible little houses at inflated prices and only paid lipservice to affordability.

“I can’t see why they couldn’t have their existing protected status retained when they move. The scheme could be voluntary but incentives could be offered.”

Social housing tenants who are under occupying get offered lots of incentives to move to smaller properties. That’s been the case for years.

23. Matthew Stiles

“The scheme could be voluntary but incentives could be offered.” There already is a voluntary scheme that offers incentives to tenants to move to smaller properties.

“Is a tenant’s council house his “own home”?” With security of tenure I would say that yes a council house is your “own home”. This new proposal is about compulsion, kicking people out of their homes whether they want to move or not and the right-wing who bang on about freedom all the time have the nerve to support this.

@22 Don

Ooops, I didn’t know that. Neither did the housing officer I asked about it, so I feel a little justified in my ignorance.

Cameron wants to punish people for making a success of their lives by kicking them out of their homes. I thought the Tories wants to encourage success — or is that only for people who inherited millions and went to Eton?

The way to fix a shortage of council houses is to build more affordable homes. If houses were mass-produced in factories, like any other manufactured good, they oughtn’t to cost more than £20,000 each (which works out as a £20 a week mortgage at 5% interest). Everyone should able able to get an affordable home, to rent or buy as is their preference.

Phil – there’s definitely an argument for building more social housing. Unfortunately, your sums are a bit wrong. The main cost for a new build is getting the land to put the house on – and, seasteaders aside, you still can’t make that in factories…

@24 – no probs, I think the incentives vary from area to area rather than being the same across the country, so possible that you and the housing officer were correct about your area.

This is interesting on the subject:

http://www.housingcorp.gov.uk/upload/doc/paper_3_final_web.doc

Cameron wants to punish people for making a success of their lives by kicking them out of their homes

That’s rather like suggesting that people who get a job are being punished by no longer getting JSA. If people don’t need the benefit of a council house, then they are denying its use to people who do. Why should Lee Jasper live in state housing? He was earning a six figure salary.

Ah yes, woman approaches David Cameron and tells him of her plight of not being able to get an adequate council house, the waiting list being too big.

Obvious solution: build more council homes to meet demand.
Tory solution: evict council tenents from their homes.

Return of the nasty party indeed.

Erm. Did anyone see anywhere that the policy was to automatically limit tenure to five years or whatever? Because otherwise, I suspect the tenure will simply be renewed if necessary (hence pensioners, for all those of you screaming about them above, will not be thrown out of their homes).

It is interesting to see all those who see a council house as a right, not a privilege, though. If this is the case, to be consistent all housing needs to be controlled by government, surely?

Shame the tories did not make this argument 30 years ago before they flogged off (At about 30% of their actual value) the vast majority of council housing stock.

Many of those people could have easily afforded to buy their own house, but there is nothing tories like better than the something for nothing society, Just as long as it is state assets being flogged off to their mates at a fraction of the real price.

sally,

I actually agree with you! This change should have been made 30 years ago (or more) as part of the same package (or even as an alternative).

Mind you, Thatcherism was a rather blunt instrument, seeing privatisation as good, but not considering how to manage what was left in state hands. Very much a thing of its moment perhaps.

33. Matthew Stiles

This is from Inside Housing on 30th April 2010
“David Cameron has clashed with housing minister John Healey after accusing the Labour Party of running a ‘scare campaign’ about Conservative housing policies.

In an exclusive interview with Inside Housing the Conservative leader said Labour had made allegations about his party’s intentions which were ‘simply untrue’. The argument with Labour is about two main allegations: that the Conservatives would end security of tenure for future social tenants and put up rents of existing tenants.

Mr Cameron said the ‘compassionate Conservative Party’ believes in the importance of social housing ‘and the security it provides’.

He said: ‘We support social housing, we will protect it, and we respect social tenants’ rights.’ A spokesperson for the Conservatives added that the party had ‘no policy to change the current or future security of tenure of tenants in social housing’.”

34. Sevillista

Is Cameron planning to abolish the housing subsidy given to middle-class homeowners alongside his attack on (the far more modest) housing subsidy for the poor?

A private landlord pays capital gains tax and pays income tax on rental income, which are passed on to private tenants. Private tenants also pay VAT on their rents.

In contrast, as a homeowner you don’t pay capital gains tax, you don’t pay income tax on the returns from your asset (the imputed rental value) and don’t pay VAT on the rental expenditure. 3 tax advantages compared to private rental (and non-housing investments) that cost the state £17 billion and make our housing market extremely dysfunctional.

Subsidy for the more deserving rich is – I’m sure – here to stay and the poor must do without to pay for this in the austere times we live in.

In contrast, as a homeowner you don’t pay capital gains tax, you don’t pay income tax on the returns from your asset (the imputed rental value) and don’t pay VAT on the rental expenditure.

Um, not paying tax on an income you don’t receive is hardly a subsidy. Are you suggesting that the potential rental income of your house should be calculated, and a tax levied on that? Hey, if you leased your car as a taxi you’d make money out of it. Let’s tax that too.

36. Sevillista

@timj

Any other investment you would be taxed on the income from the returns – for example, I pay tax on the interest payment on my (very modest) savings and my landlord pays tax on the rent I pay him. The state subsidises homeowners by not levying a similar tax.

Other countries tax imputed rental income from homeownership, and the UK used to until the 1960s, and it would be fairly easy to levy (perhaps as a charge against the asset for homeowners who are income poor), so it’s not the crazy idea you make it out as to justify the subsidy you obviously get. It will incentivise people to invest their money in the productive economy rather than hanging onto a property that is too big for them.

Sevillista,

Any return on your house is only calculated at sale. You could therefore put VAT on housing (because we need it more expensive…) to be consistent. You could also charge someone a land tax or similiar. I have no great ideological problem with either, although neither would help the economy or the housing situation much (taxation almost always gets passed on to the consumer). What you can’t do is charge a tax on income that someone has not got, simply because their house may be increasing in value. After all, if there is then a fall in property values, there would also be a massive tax rebate due, which is exactly what the government would need in a recession…

Actually, on that basis this is not a bad policy for people who want to ensure the government can’t be Keynsian. If a recession hits property values, the government is so busy paying money back to property owners it can’t spend anything!

Tim J, the state subsidises income tax payers by not imposing 100% tax on their income.

More seriously, no-one has answered Tim’s point yet:

“The idea that, because at one point in your life you qualified for state housing you are therefore entitled to it in perpetuity seems a little odd.”

What’s wrong with checking, from time to time, someone’s qualification for state housing?

39. Planeshift

“Why should Lee Jasper live in state housing? He was earning a six figure salary.”

For the same reason he should have sent his kids to state schools, used nhs doctors etc. You can’t be expected to understand the problems of people if you are isolated from people because you are a multi-millionare living in a gated community.

If every politician in the land lived in council housing then many of the problems associated with such areas would disappear overnight.

40. Sevillista

@watchman

The tax I am talking about is a charge on the non-capital annual return
from homeownership (free rental). It is nothing to do with the capital gain.

It would stabilise the housing market (as speculative
investment would be directed away from second-hand homes) and result in a
more efficient housing market.

@ukliberty

That is not what I am saying. Home ownership is plainly subsidised compared to other investments. I am not, however, surprised
that this particular subsidy is sacrosanct to those who would
moan about the far lower cost of subsidised council rents.

This is nothing short of a declaration of class war. It is also an absolutely stupid idea and would lead to a social disaster within a couple of decades.

Is a tenant’s council house his “own home”?

Of course it is you snobbish bastard.

For the same reason he should have sent his kids to state schools, used nhs doctors etc. You can’t be expected to understand the problems of people if you are isolated from people because you are a multi-millionare living in a gated community.

The state doesn’t even pretend – and never has – to provide state housing for all. The idea is that state housing is provided to those that need it, and it is widely accepted that there is not enough to go around. The obvious logical corrolary of this is that state housing should only be provided to those that need it, and not to those that don’t. Frank Dobson was living in a council house when he joined Tony Blair’s first cabinet. Is it really just me that finds that odd?

Alun,

Own home is actually a home you have the right to exclude all others from (I forget the ancient legalese for it), so a council house is no more ‘own home’ than a rented property. Basically the ‘castle’ in an Englishman’s home is his castle.

Which is not to say they are not someone’s home, which would be snobbish.

Sevillista,

The thing with homeowning is that you have already paid a large amount of money to buy the house, where you have not with renting. So if taxation needs to be applied, it should be on this expenditure. Taxing someone for ‘utility’ of their own property implies that government owns the property (incorrect), and also would be wonderful for say the retired, the unemployed who can afford to hang on to their home, first-time buyers etc. Also, how do you calculate a tax on something which does not exist – and could I get a deduction because I am spending my own money on maintaining the garden and doing up the bathroom, which are tasks often done by landlords? If so, this would be a wonderful boost for the DIY/decorating industry!

Any other investment you would be taxed on the income from the returns – for example, I pay tax on the interest payment on my (very modest) savings and my landlord pays tax on the rent I pay him. The state subsidises homeowners by not levying a similar tax.

I don’t see that this follows. By buying a house you avoid having to rent one. By buying a car, you avoid having to rent one. If you rent a car, you have to pay VAT on that rental, are car owners being subsidised because they don’t have to pay tax on their car’s imputed rental income?

And lastly, not charging a tax on an activity is not subsidising it. A subsidy is where the state gives you (someone else’s) money, it’s not where they take less of your money away from you.

46. David Boothroyd

Can’t help but point out that the concept of social housing only being intended for those unable to pay for housing privately is actually very new. In the pre-war situation social housing was largely built to replace privately owned slums which were rented out to poor families. Housing authorities built new homes, housed slum tenants in them, and used the rental income to pay for more slum removal.

Post-war the slum clearance continued but local authorities were also involved in general housebuilding after so many homes were demolished during the war – homes occupied by people of all classes. In the new council estates the aim was to have a cross-section of the community.

Tim J,

Is it really just me that finds that odd?

I find it odd too.

There seem to be no objections to check people’s entitlement from time to time in principle, so I’m not sure why people are objecting so strongly to this proposal.

Incidentally, I just googled “Frank Dobson council house” and read that,

People living in council houses will no longer be entitled to a subsidised tenancy for life under Whitehall proposals to address waiting lists.

with nearly four million people, or 1.6 million households, on waiting lists for social housing, and only 170,000 coming available each year, the Government wants to ensure help for the most needy. In many poor areas, one in five people is waiting to be housed. The problem will worsen in the next few months as families fall into negative equity and their homes are repossessed.

From 2008.

Sevillista,

Home ownership is plainly subsidised compared to other investments. I am not, however, surprised that this particular subsidy is sacrosanct to those who would moan about the far lower cost of subsidised council rents.

Are homeowners given money by the state?

49. Rhys Williams

The obvious logical corollary of this is that state housing should only be provided to those that need it, and not to those that don’t.

How will you decide that an individual has to leave a council house. So an individual who pays rent in a regular manner has no rights.
So squire Tim adds to the housing problem. Just because you were born with a silver spoon others are not so lucky.

47 – ahah! So the civil servants had all the work done for the last lot, and gave the new lot the files…

How will you decide that an individual has to leave a council house. So an individual who pays rent in a regular manner has no rights.
So squire Tim adds to the housing problem. Just because you were born with a silver spoon others are not so lucky.

1. Um, on the same basis that it is decided whether an individual qualifies for a council house.
2. They have plenty of rights, just not assured tenancy for life.
3. No you see, this would alleviate the housing problem…

51. Rhys Williams

1. Um, on the same basis that it is decided whether an individual qualifies for a council house.
So a worker without kids would have to give his house up that he has tended for 20 years for an unmarried mother

2. They have plenty of rights, just not assured tenancy for life.
So you would despense with their rights by removing them from their home

3. No you see, this would alleviate the housing problem
How you, will just replace one individual with another

52. Rhys Williams

Also Timmy boy if your lot hadn’t sold council houses under the market value in the eighties and built more council houses, maybe their wouldn’t be a problem.

51/2 – Sheesh. I thought you chaps liked unmarried mothers. It’s supposed to be Peter Lilley that persecutes them.

If it really is your belief that if at any stage during your life you qualify for state housing that necessarily means that you are entitled to live in that house in perpetuity, then we’re not going to agree. I just think it’s strange that people who earn in the top percentile of earners can simultaneously be living in council houses.

54. Sevillista

@watchman

I still do not understand why, when every other investment is subject to taxation on its returns and the capital gains, owner-occupied housing should be a special case (aside from the political attractions of the distributive effects of this).

It is an easy tax to calculate – and many countries do tax imputed rents in this way and the UK did 40 years or so ago.

@timj

The current housing taxation system distorts the market. Lots of people keep equity tied up in owner-occupied properties that are far larger than they need (or are suitable) and invest resources in home improvements because the returns are subsidised compared with more productive investments. This comes with a penalty to our economic growth and results in an inefficient allocation of housing. And the
state forgoes £17 billion of revenue to achieve this.

A car is not an investment – it depreciates rapidly, unlike a house. VAT is paid at
point of purchase (unlike, say, a house).

Not taxing at the same rate as other goods is equivalent to a subsidy. Or
would you also argue that not charging a market rent in social housing is also not a subsidy?

@ukliberty

Are social tenants given money by the state if they are in work? No – but
they are subsidised by the LA foregoing revenue. Same for homeowners.

Do you even understand what a subsidy is?

55. vulpus_rex

Wondered when Dobbo would turn up in this debate – Not only does my MP live in a council flat, I’m told he and his wife occupy a five bedroom council property.

I suppose being the ex-leader of the Labour run council helps when clinging on to such gross abuse of the system, though I’m sure his £60K salary could rent him something more modest in the private sector.

Bed blocking hypocrite.

It is an easy tax to calculate – and many countries do tax imputed rents in this way and the UK did 40 years or so ago.

I’m not sure many do, though lots calculate it for its effect on nominal GDP (Spain does for second homes only, I don’t know of any others). Presumably, in any event, you would set off the nominal income for not renting against the vast intial expenditure on buying the thing (which is itself taxed). Or against the mortgage costs, or upkeep costs.

Sevillista,

Do you even understand what a subsidy is?

It seems likely that I have an understanding of ‘subsidy’ different from yours.

58. Rhys Williams

I just think it’s strange that people who earn in the top percentile of earners can simultaneously be living in council houses.
They don’t and very few would live in a council house.
The people who would suffer are honest working class pensioners who have worked hard all their lives and want a little a security.

A house is nearly always a depreciating asset from the time it is built. What is appreciating is the land price. If the state build a good school in the area and provide good transport links the local land prices will increase. This provides an unearned increase in wealth for landowners. There is nothing the landowner did to increase the value of the land so it is a state subsidy. For example, when 3.5 billion public money was spent on the jubilee line, the local land along the line increased by 14 billion i.e. unearned increase in wealth through a state subsidy.

Own home is actually a home you have the right to exclude all others from (I forget the ancient legalese for it),

Well, to you, maybe. But as far as most people are concerned their ‘own home’ is their home, full stop. It’s not that long ago that a majority of households in Britain rented (either from the council or privately) and not all that long ago that over 80% of the population did so.

.The buyers of new homes pay no VAT as well. All those nice shinny bathrooms ,and Kitchens and all that plumbing and electrics and not a penny of VAT.

Taxes are for the little people.

Can’t help but point out that the concept of social housing only being intended for those unable to pay for housing privately is actually very new. In the pre-war situation social housing was largely built to replace privately owned slums which were rented out to poor families.

Indeed. Most of the first few generations of council estates had rents set far higher than most people in the slums could afford; they were aimed at the ‘respectable’ working class, who took them up (in Birmingham anyway; presumably things were much the same elsewhere. Interestingly, one of the few good set of municipal results for Birmingham Labour in the 1920s came shortly after council house construction was cut buck massively; the leading agitator against building large numbers of quality council houses lost his seat in a massive upset) with great enthusiasm.

59

The Lie Dems need to pull their heads out of their bottoms. They are being taken for the biggest fools in political history by their leaders. When will the Lie Dems stand up and say no?.

Just say no Lie Dems.

65. Sevillista

@ukliberty

You have an incorrect definition of “subsidy” that excludes lots of things that economists would class as a subsidy.

http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_561539566/tax_subsidy.html

Incidentally, does reduced rents charged on council homes count as a subsidy in your definition. There is no direct cash transfer associated with it after all. So, no need for reform of sub-market rents?

Or is this a special “paid to the poor” exception?

Sevillista,

You have an incorrect definition of “subsidy” that excludes lots of things that economists would class as a subsidy.

Your link points to Encarta’s definition of “tax subsidy”, not “subsidy”. I don’t fully understand what it means by “reduced taxation”, but as Encarta seems authoritative to you, let’s look at its definition of subsidy:

“1. money given by government: a grant or gift of money from a government to a private company, organization, or charity to help it to function”

“2. help with expenses: a monetary gift or contribution to somebody or something, especially to pay expenses”

That is what I understand subsidy to mean.

Incidentally, does reduced rents charged on council homes count as a subsidy in your definition. There is no direct cash transfer associated with it after all. So, no need for reform of sub-market rents?

I think sub-market rents, whether they are on council homes or private homes, do count as a subsidy (see Encarta’s point 2), whether the landlord is the council or someone’s parents. I think there may be a problem with (1) non-poor people having their rents subsidised by the state and (2) the non-poor occupying this scarce resource instead of the poor (I imagine though that the number of homes being built per year is more of a problem). I have been unable to find any relevant figures.

Or is this a special “paid to the poor” exception?Do you think I have something against the poor? It should be obvious that is not the case – I am after all suggesting that only the poor should be given subsidised housing. I note there has been no objection to this suggestion other than, “what about the tenant who has lived there for N years – an objection that seems inadequate.

sorry for html fail at the end. Here’s how it should read:

Or is this a special “paid to the poor” exception?

Do you think I have something against the poor? It should be obvious that is not the case – I am after all suggesting that only the poor should be given subsidised housing. I note there has been no objection to this suggestion other than, “what about the tenant who has lived there for N years – an objection that seems inadequate.

68. Rhys Williams

Do you think I have something against the poor? It should be obvious that is not the case – I am after all suggesting that only the poor should be given subsidised housing.

How do you define poor ?
To a silver spoon Tory like yourself only the beggars are poor.
Surely giving a moderate or low paid worker (the majority of council house owners) should have a little security (i.e, they won’t be kicked out of their houses).
In a way giving this type of worker subsidised council house rent fits into IDS / Field’s idea of benefit

The real problem is the high rents in the private sector which no party wants to tackle.
Also UK liberty have your Tories repealed any of Labour,s anti terror legislation

69. Sevillista

@ukliberty

As a professional economist, I really do not see how you can claim favourable tax treatment is not a subsidy (or a tax subsidy is not a subsidy). Maybe a right-wing economist (who you may trust more) will step forward to back me up.

Would it be different if all investments were treated equal and the Government provided a cash rebate to those who have paid taxes owner-occupied housing?

Also, I don’t get your logic on sub-market rents still qualifying as a subsidy under your (incorrect) definition. No cash changes hands ergo (in ukliberty world)
it cannot be a subsidy.

I was not suggesting that you have something against the poor, more that you class a subsidy received by the middle-classes as not a subsidy on the reasoning that no cash is paid by the Government, and yet treat a non-cash subsidy to the poor entirely differently.

Ignoring the distributional consequences, both subsidies damage economic efficiency, and the zero taxation of investment in owner occupied housing (save the inefficient stamp duty transaction tax) is far more damaging to our economy because of its distortion of investment patterns in the economy away from productive sectors and the instability it causes in the real economy due to speculative bubbles.

Rhys,

Do you think I have something against the poor? It should be obvious that is not the case – I am after all suggesting that only the poor should be given subsidised housing.

How do you define poor ?

In this context, someone qualified to have subsidised housing. As has already been explained to you, we already make a determination about whether or not someone is ‘qualified’ or entitled to be given subsidised housing in the first instance. There appears to be no objection to that.

What then is the objection to the same process occurring from time to time, say every five years, in order to see if he still qualifies or ought to make way for someone more needy?

You object because a tenant might have been living in his subsidised housing for 20 years. Apparently it doesn’t matter how well-off he is, it doesn’t matter if there are more needy people, he has every right to stay and they can go hang. Is that a fair summary of your position?

And you intimate that I don’t care about the poor?

71. Rhys Williams

Fat cats are not living on council estates.
I cannot think of many council estates that the rich or modertely well off would want to spend their lives.
Most council house owners are low bracket income workers who can only afford council rent.
Why should they not some sort of security, what your suggesting if they have a low to middle income job they should lose their home. So for them it is better to say, fuck the job, I will be classed as poor and I can stay in my house

Rhys, I’m not inclined to have discussions with people who seem unreasonable particularly if they are dishonest about what I’ve written, so I will leave our discussion here.

Sevillista,

As a professional economist, I really do not see how you can claim favourable tax treatment is not a subsidy (or a tax subsidy is not a subsidy).

I actually said I didn’t understand how reduced taxation is a subsidy, not that it isn’t a subsidy.

Also, I don’t get your logic on sub-market rents still qualifying as a subsidy under your (incorrect) definition. No cash changes hands ergo (in ukliberty world) it cannot be a subsidy.

That doesn’t make sense; I wrote that under the definition given by Encarta sub-market rents seem to qualify as subsidies.

Incidentally, you’re banging on about definitions; I was going to leave it but, look, the meaning of words is where consensus defines correctness. My understanding of subsidy seems to be equivalent to Encarta’s, to other dictionaries, to that in newspaper articles and comments on those articles by the public. It seems to me, then, that you’re wrong in saying ‘my’ (or Encarta’s) definition is “wrong” – it’s different to yours (although you still haven’t said what yours is, it seems wider). If I wrote, “a subsidy is something you take from people” that would be wrong (although the Taxpayer’s Alliance will agree).

74. Sevillista

@ukliberty

I’m not banging on about definitions- you are claiming that favourable tax treatment is not subsidy – which is completely wrong.

I linked to Encata as it was the first thing google came up with and I can hardly link to a microeconomics textbook.

There’s no point arguing with you.

Sevillista,

you are claiming that favourable tax treatment is not subsidy – which is completely wrong.

Wrong – I wrote that I don’t understand how it is. Now, it’s obviously your prerogative whether or not you attempt to improve my understanding (I have actually found something now, although I think it is “has the effect of subsidy” rather than what people generally think of as subsidy). But please don’t say I’m claiming something when I’m not.

There’s no point arguing with you.

It would help if you argued with what I wrote instead of what you imagined I meant.

Never mind. Good night.

76. Sevillista

@ukliberty

You were mocking the idea (nay, the fact) that favourable tax treatment was a subsidy and distorts the housing market – “the state subsidises income tax payers by not imposing 100% tax on their income” – and have been continuing on in that vein throughout.

Maybe Chapter 3 of the Hill’s Report on Social Housing explains things better – and also has a good diagram illustrating the different scale of housing subsidies (~£17 billion for home ownership, £6.6 billion for sub-market social rents).

Hills is also worth a read to understand the pros and cons of the reforms being talked about (aside from the distributional implications).

But a headline is housing subsidies for the working poor are being clamped
down on hard (housing benefit and sub-market rents) while leaving middle-class homeowners with their subsidy. We are all sharing the pain, some people are just sharing it more than others.

http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/5568/1/Ends_and_Means_The_future_roles_of_social_housing_in_England_1.pdf

77. Rhys Williams

Oh dear UK liberty
We are having a bad day.

Thanks for the link Sevillista, I will read it.


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