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the shaping machine

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  1. You said state subsidised so I assumed you meant Right to By. Help to Buy is a terrible idea but it's a stretch to call it a subsidy. I think the argument is that the housing market requires "kick starting". I don't think that is the real problem, hence the wrong solution is proposed. No argument from me, it's a bad idea. Well compared to Ed Balls...
  2. New buildings will always be required. However if we want these to be high quality, then the issue of demand needs to be addressed and not just supply.
  3. Many on the political left would regard a 99.99% tax for rich businessmen as perfectly fair and just, and that is just one problem with making taxation about emotion and feelings. [i'd also suggest that an argument based on the Laffer curve might be more effective. ] No, because 1) taxes should be logical, and 2) Fairness and justice are intangible ghosts. It is the politicians and their civil servants who are failing us, Google simply follow rules which are not of their own making.
  4. Dangerous as it may be to interrupt a HPC two minute hate, not everyone who has concerns about unlimited development is a NIMBY. I happen to live in central London, I'd have to drive for an hour to see anything resembling a field, and anyway I'm not exactly a tree-hugger. However the vision of mile upon mile of ugly Barratt boxes is hard to support. Partly my objective is simple aesthetics (most new housing estates are ugly), but I also have a problem with politicians taking the easy way out. It is largely their fault that UK housing demands are rising so dramatically, and rather than take any tough decisions on difficult issues such as immigration, family break-up, and welfare, they would prefer to sacrifice even more green space. Some of the objectors to development may well be hypocrites, but that doesn't make them the enemy.
  5. True to a point, but taxation is not a moral issue, it is a legal one. What matters is the letter of the law, and politicians are responsible for that.
  6. So? The two things are not connected; renting is not buying. Help to buy is largely a local authority issue, and anyway actually reduces state liabilities (that was one of the reasons for doing it originally - all that post-war housing was about to need lots of expensive maintenance). You've answered your own question: Governments have a tendency to be generous with other peoples money.
  7. Labour as usual are wrongly diagnosing the problem then misapplying an authoritarian "solution". There's nothing in principle wrong with a use it or lose it approach to planning, though simply billing the land owner the full as-built council tax from day one might be simpler and more effective. The real issue is the distorted value of land with planning permission. Distributing some or all of the planning gain to the locals would help here, and might also nullify the NIMBY factor.
  8. Is it? What would be the true value of the property if sold on the open market complete with the life-time tenant paying below-market rents?
  9. There is additional bias in running repeated stories on this "issue", but ignoring the fact that people who pay for their own housing have always only got the number of rooms they can afford.
  10. Not-much-thought experiments; there is no moral ambiguity in paying taxes, so you have invented fake situations where this exists. Both your examples result in real damage to the environment or people. Tax avoidance just results the state receiving a bit less revenue than might be predicted by someone stupid (such as an MP). Take your first example: if the company were taxed on tonnage of pollution, then introduced new technology that reduced this pollution, are they being immoral in avoiding tax?
  11. Both policies seek to reduce the damaging effects of state subsidised housing.
  12. Alternatively remove the state control and let schools offer whatever system they want to. It will be obvious soon enough what is best.
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