[diggers350] your views on transfer of public space to Housing Association Plymouth

David Bangs dave.bangs at virgin.net
Tue Aug 25 19:37:42 BST 2009

It's appalling and deeply undemocratic, Andrew. The whole exercise of council housing stock transfer is a classic privatisation con and a rip off, packed with all sorts of sugar-coated inducements, and never telling tenants or other residents the true content of the bitter pill they are asked to swallow. 

Tenants are ballotted, of course (if full stock transfer is proposed), though in a deeply one-sided and unbalanced debate. 

However, council housing does not belong just to Council tenants...any more than the NHS belongs just to sick people, or state schools just belong to pupils and their carers...for we may all sometime need to access public housing as of right if our present arrangements fail, just as we may all at some time get ill or need education and training...

Council housing belongs to the whole community, and all the guff about stock transfer promoting tenant democracy and local control is just that...hooey...hiding the marketisation and privatisation of these presently democratically accountable (through their elected local councillors) public assets.

The transfer of Council housing stock does have the added aspect that all that land in Council Housing Department holdings which is not just strictly housing - green spaces, play areas, estate and community halls, garage parking, even shops etc - is up for take-over by the new housing asssociations...and, down the line, these housing associations, when they are in crisis, or fail and are taken over by much bigger regional or national HAs, will then develop new asset-realising strategies for this peripheral land, which will be of great value to them as a capital asset.

I am sorry that, down in Plymouth, tenants were rail-roaded into voting for transfer. Here in Brighton tenants fought a five year campaign against transfer and 77% voted against this privatisation. It was a stunning victory for us all. This now means that Brighton tenants and other folk are now in a position to take advantage of the new concessions which the government are at last conceding to the council housing sector as a result of the arduous national campaign led by Defend Council Housing (FOR WHICH, SEE THEIR WEBSITE), 

Dave Bangs, ex-convenor Brighton, Hove and Portslade DCH

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Andrew Pratt 
  To: chapter7 at tlio.org.uk ; diggers350 at yahoogroups.com 
  Sent: Monday, August 24, 2009 10:59 AM
  Subject: [diggers350] your views on transfer of public space to Housing Association Plymouth

  Dear Diggers experts
  Plymouth Council are proposing that some public space in the city is transfered to the new social landlord coming to town, Plymouth Community Homes, which will be one of the biggest Housing Associations in the country after tenants voted in favour for the transfer last year.
  The  boss of Plymouth community homes says "If, for some reason, we ever wanted to change the use of this land there would be extensive public consultation and of course we would have to follow all the normal planning procedures. But this is certainly not our intention at the moment.”
  Just wondered if Diggers have any views of the implications of this.  In my day job I assess the wellbeing and health impacts of policies and developments and find Diggers' views very useful in lots of cases.
  best wishes

  With thanks Andrew Pratt 07980 602088


  To: diggers350 at yahoogroups.com
  From: chapter7 at tlio.org.uk
  Date: Sun, 16 Aug 2009 00:34:20 +0100
  Subject: Re: [diggers350] allotments in Camden Town? Difficult!

  I'm afraid don't really  agree with you Heather. Subsidies are certainly one reason, but by no means the only one,  for the discrepancy between the rental price of land and the  buying price, particularly grazing land . Single Farm payment I think is now  about £50  per acre (and you have to have the entitlements to get it)  and rental value for mediocre grazing is about £50 -£70 per acre:  that's a total economic rent of about £120 per year. Price round here is about £5,500 per acre if you can afford 20 acres or more , and up to £10,000 if you buy in a smaller quantity. That means that even if you buy land at the lowest price it takes about 45 years before you see a return from it through conventional agriculture — ie a very poor investment, unless the capital value of the land rises further. 

  The second reason for the price hike in 2008 was the rise in the price of food, and consequent aggressive  interest from Irish, Dutch and other foreign buyers (though this was mainly for arable land, and has subsided). The price of arable "barley baron" land probably   does reflect its agricultural rental value plus subsidies. Arable land in Suffolk, as far as I can tell,  is  cheaper than mediocre grazing in Somerset, even though you can produce more food and make more money from the arable. 

  The third reason for the high price of land, and in the West Country it is the main reason,  is the rise of what estate agents call "lifestyle buyers" ie rich b*****ds who have made their money in the city and who can afford to pay high prices for  land for horseyculture or very low level farming. That's why even though half our dairy farmers are going out of business (despite the subsidies), land prices are high. 

  Owners of large farms don't all get rich, many of them go bust. However those who go bust, when they sell up,  get millions for their land. Many  farmers make a pretty low  income, and sometimes a negative income,  but live off the increasing capital of their land, which enables them to take out loans to bolster up a business that otherwise would be unviable. 

  If we got rid of  subsidies and imposed a land tax, surely the result would be that farmers would find it even harder to compete against horsey people  and lifestyle buyers with city money  who could easily afford a tax that unsubsidized farmers would find crippling?  As a result, more of our food, would be imported.

  If you want local food  in a global market, you have to support it,  either through production subsidies, or (preferably) through tariffs on imports.


  On 14 Aug 2009, at 14:10, Mark Barrett wrote:

    I agree with Heather though did not have such good language to
    describe the effect.

    All I will add to this is that is it proof that there is plenty of
    land available, to grow abundant food on, to feed everyone in the
    world, with room to spare. If only we would use it more wisely.

    What we hear from Hilary Benn recently is no more than further
    ignorance and stupidity forming policy. That we also hear Porrit and
    Attenborough also telling us there is not enough food and to grow it
    for the poor will make climate change worse worries me immensely. They
    are blaming the poor for the crimes of the idle wealthy. Us!

    Brgds Robin "Robin Smith" <robinsmith3 at googlemail.com>, 

    2009/8/14 Heather Wetzel <heather.wetzel at oisc.gov.uk>:

    > Hi Mark
    > My views:
    > The reason why the agricultural price of land is high is because of the
    > subsidies the farmers get from the CAP.  Any subsidy or grant will
    > eventually increase the price of the land  - rent or freehold - to include
    > the real value of the land plus the value of the subsidies.  That is how
    > owners of large farms get rich and why so many tenants farmers cannot
    > survive.
    > If there was a land value tax and no subsidies for farmers, the price of
    > land would fall and allow more farmers to buy or rent land for farming.  The
    > price we pay for food is too low and current farming policies encourage the
    > destruction of meadow land once the financial benefit of the subsidy
    > received for keeping land as meadow is lost to the financial benefit they
    > receive for digging up this land for crops.  We need strong farming policies
    > that will encourage organic and other environmentally friendly forms of
    > farming, less waste and more local produce being sold locally thus reducing
    > the stupidity of tomatoes being grown in one area to have to be transported
    > market in another only to be transported back to the original locality for
    > sale.
    > Subsidies benefit landowners not farmers or farming or the environment.
    > I will be interested to read the responses from others.
    > cheers
    > Heather
    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: Mark Barrett [mailto:marknbarrett at googlemail.com]
    > Sent: 14 August 2009 12:35
     Subject: Re: Professional Land Reform Group - PLRG Research Sub-Committee
    > Hi all
    > I'd like to learn how to give an LVT response to this thread - any idea how?
    > Mark

    2009/8/13 Simon Fairlie <chapter7 at tlio.org.uk>

      The rental  income of £320 per acre  for allotments  is 3 or 4 times  the rent for decent quality  pasture which is £60 to £100 per acre.

      The problem is that an acre or two bought on it s own can cost about £15,000 per acre. At this price it would take about 46 years to get your money back from allotments, and about 180 years from sheep. 

      According to Adam Smith, in a heathy rural economy it should take about 20  years to recoup the price of land by renting it out (Wealth of Nations Book II Chapter 3). But even the normal agricultural price of £5000 per acre for land sold in large lots is about 60 times the annual agricultural rent. In other words buying land  is unaffordable for farmers unless they have savings which they are prepared invest unwisely. 


      On 12 Aug 2009, at 21:34, james armstrong wrote:

        1London is overpopulated with 25 million in the Thames tv catchment area and the only way to get allotments is to move to Dorchester .   The great wen housing and employment and crime and allotments problems are un solvable  on any other terms.
        2  After five years' graft, tonight we had runner beans, cabbage and potatoes  followed by rasperries all picked yesterday from our allotment.  Only the ice cream was bought.
         we have picked kilos of blackberries and bottles of elder flowers  for cordial.
        3 allotment rent is some #20 per annum, at 16 to the acre the income is about the same as
        a farmer renting out a field  to a sheep raiser.
        It is a serious consideration for  a group or individual to buy an acre or two and rent it out as diy 'allotments.'  its a good principle that people can do what governments cant and corporations wont.
        james, Dorchester    

        Windows Live Messenger: Thanks for 10 great years-enjoy free winks and emoticons. Get Them Now 

    "We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet /Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.” 

  Internet Explorer 8 - accelerate your Hotmail. Download Internet Explorer 8 

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://mailman.gn.apc.org/mailman/private/diggers350/attachments/20090825/9333ffcb/attachment.html>

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list