Published at 07:34, Wednesday, 07 November 2012
THE article on the property page about our national housing crisis (Courant, October 19) very rightly drew attention to a huge problem we have that should not exist in one of the richest countries in the world.
There are 1.8 million households in Britain on social housing waiting lists and one million children are currently living in overcrowded households which could damage their development.
Youth homelessness tripled in the last year. In June a Young Labour Conference in Newcastle voted to prioritise a campaign on housing to push for more council housing and end the right to buy.
Students face astronomical rents. Even some universities are cashing in by grossly overcharging students.
But while owner occupation has been in decline for around a decade, the private rental sector has expanded faster and faster. That sector rarely buys new housing to rent. It grows through buying existing housing – and ex-council houses have become part of that market. Rents then, of course, are greatly increased.
The fact is that rents are rising because of inadequate supply. We have about the same volume of rented housing as we had in 1980. We should be investing money in new housing (and jobs) and introducing rent controls as in many parts of Europe.
What is needed is a government like the 1945 Labour administration which built more houses than any other European country affected by the war – and they were built for affordable rental to those whose need was greatest.
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk