[diggers350] Good Housing Schemes Were Ditched With Prescott

Mark mark at tlio.org.uk
Tue May 30 20:04:03 BST 2006

The reason for the low demand for the scheme in the South East has been
because even part-buy schemes (with preferable loans to public sector
workers) were unaffordable to public sector workers. If the property were
council owned, then the part-equity stake deal would be even cheaper.
Otherwise, this is all tinkering at the margins, as the house price bubble
crowds out half the population from being able to get onto the property
ladder. It means for society, a rapid turnover of public sector staff
especially in hospitals, as workers will not stay renting in the same area
for ever, and so, continuing demand for foreign-trained staff such as
nursing staff from Africa.

LA's have apparantly been released from constraints that previously
restricted them from building houses, presumably through some form of
compulsory purchase arrangement; unfortunately, LA are too often too
reluctant to step on the toes of housing corps, who have too much power.

It's time LA's started stemming the tide of power of the housing corps,
who are mostly in a win-win situation, holding onto land and releasing
only some of it for house build so holding up the price of housing, whilst
exploiting tax breaks on empty property at the same time, as Mr Gosling
outlined in his article in the first issue of The Land.


> Good scheme this - below - but the Housing Corporation seem to have
> been working in the interests of the housebuilders federation! As soon
> as Prescott's gone the idea is scrapped. How nice for housebuilding
> company profits.
> Under the other scheme Prescott had arranged a competition for
> housebuilding companies to submit innovative affordable housing
> designs for government land. Two of the ten winners were Irish
> Companies by the way!
> The winners are getting the land for a fraction of the commercial
> rate. That scheme is to be scrapped too now!
> Prescott was also here in Bristol making advanced plans for DoE money
> to be made available for the celebration of 200 years since the
> abolition of slavery. While the local Chamber of Commerce is doing
> everything it can to scupper the plance Prescott was insisting that
> DoE be spent on the celebrations. That's now down the pan too.
> Come back Mr Prescott - you've been knobbled!
> Tony
> Prescott's housing scheme ditched
> By Neil Tweedie
> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/05/20/
> nkey20.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/05/20/ixuknews.html
> John Prescott's scheme to provide affordable housing for key public
> sector workers in high-cost areas has been effectively ditched
> following the disclosure to parliament last month that more than half
> the homes built for sale remained empty.
> The £725 million key worker living programme, championed by the Deputy
> Prime Minister at its launch, was intended to ensure that nurses,
> teachers, policemen, social workers and other vital public employees
> on relatively low salaries were given access to affordable homes,
> particularly in London and the South East.
> But yesterday the Housing Corporation, the quango which oversees the
> scheme, said restrictions on the kind of worker entitled to apply for
> the properties were being dropped.
> Anyone living in social housing or entered on a waiting list for
> social housing will be eligible to buy unsold flats and houses, as
> well as properties due to be built in the next two years.
> The decision, revealed in a leak to the magazine Inside Housing,
> follows criticism about the size, quality and particularly the
> location of the homes on offer, as well as their sometimes very high
> price.
> People in the key worker category were said to be unhappy about the
> prospect of living in public sector "ghettoes", in often unattractive
> areas, with some flats costing over £200,000.
> In a parliamentary answer published last month, the Government
> disclosed that only 615 out of 1,393 houses built for sale to key
> workers had been sold, despite offers of loans or low-cost "part-buy,
> part-rent" arrangements. In contrast, there was strong demand for the
> 1,424 properties built for rent, with 1,201 taken up.
> Diggers350 - an e-mail discussion/information-share list for campaigners
> involved with THE LAND IS OURS landrights network (based in the UK ..web
> ref. www.thelandisours.org). The list was originally concerned with the
> 350th anniversary of The Diggers (& still is concerned with their
> history). The Diggers appeared at the end of the English Civil war with a
> mission to make the earth 'a common treasury for all'. In the spring of
> 1999 there were celebrations to remember the Diggers vision and their
> contribution. Find out more about the Diggers and see illustrations at:
> http://www.bilderberg.org/diggers.htm
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