[diggers350] "Everyone is entitled to a stake in the nation's soil and bricks"

Simon Fairlie chapter7 at tlio.org.uk
Thu Jul 26 08:53:31 BST 2007

Polly Toynbee's article is simplistically divisive.  She  tries to  
put people in need of housing on one side and people who oppose  
horrible housing developments on the other side— the Poor versus the  
NIMBYs —  but its quite possible to be both.

There is a shortage of housing, but no shortage of houses. Look at  
the huge areas of sprawl tacked  onto  the edge of  English villages  
and towns since the second world war to accommodate a 25 per cent  
increase in population.

There is a housing crisis because the wealthy want bigger and bigger  
houses to keep all their crap in, and many of them occupy on their  
own properties that were built to accommodate three or four people.  
Last week I stayed with a childless couple in their fifties who had  
bought up three adjacent two-up-two-down terraced houses and merged  
them into one. Two had been done up, making a four-bedroom, three  
reception-room house,  and the third was being used as a store-room.  
How are they going to heat their homes when oil gets scarce?

Housing inequality is a symptom of a capitalist system where some  
people can acquire far more wealth  than other people; and the  
pressure to build more crap houses is the pressure to accommodate  
people's greed


On 25 Jul 2007, at 00:05, Mark wrote:

> 2 articles in today (Tuesday's) Guardian: Ms Toynbee says: "To  
> build 3m
> homes by 2020, the government has to face down the small cartel of  
> volume
> developers. The construction industry cannot go on demanding they  
> make a
> gold-plated 22% profit on every house they build."
> Informed analysis for the largely neoliberal Guardian (morelike Ms  
> Toynbee
> finally can't remain in denial about the bleeding obvious). Larry  
> Elliot,
> meanwhile, as usual, is spot on.
> Interesting thread at the end of Polly Toynbee's article. I  
> highlight one
> comment at the foot of this message which I think sums the underlying
> situation well.
> 60% of UK wealth is tied up in homes
> In 1948 Britain was worth £551bn. The property boom has raised it  
> to £6.5
> trillion
> by Larry Elliot
> http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,2133131,00.html
> &
> Everyone is entitled to a stake in the nation's soil and bricks
> by Polly Toynbee
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,2133179,00.html
> bucephalus
> July 24, 2007 11:39 AM
> bunk
> Planning is not the whole story; property developers hold onto vast
> landbanks, since it is in their interests to reduce the supply of  
> land and
> thereby support high prices. And although I'd agree that supply has  
> more
> chance of overtaking demand in the US, I'd also argue that the US  
> bubble
> burst, like every other in history, when fear overtook greed.
> polly
> On taxing property fairly, I have long advocated a sliding council tax
> scale. Own one house, pay one lot of CT. Own two, pay double. Own  
> ten, pay
> ten times. Thereby not stopping multiple ownership, but giving
> proportionally more back if you take up more than your share of  
> this type
> of asset.
> I have met numerous people in today's London who have stopped doing
> productive work because they earn so much from their housing  
> portfolio.
> They are therefore adding no value to the economy, since housing is  
> simply
> a shift of resources from have nots to haves. I will find it hard  
> not to
> be malevolently happy if a crash leaves such people both poor and
> unemployable.

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