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Wayo

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Everything posted by Wayo

  1. The guy left school in 1995 and has done one years work in that time. I can feel for people who worked their whole lives only to die before being able to claim a pension. He sounds content, but it must be a miserly existence on £50pw. Of course it won't be £50pw because there will be free prescriptions, free this and free that and somebody else will be paying his housing costs, his council tax and then he will get a pension despite not having paid any N.I. He would probably be much better off working as he doesn't have any kids, but is too lazy to consider it. The student who was heavily critiscised for not doing unpaid work in Poundland was at least working in the voluntary sector - again this individual doesn't seem interested in putting anything back. It is called JSA for a reason - if they aren't then take it away. 40hrs a week with 5 weeks leave is not an overbearing committment, even a few decades ago 5 and a half days work a week normal in many workplaces. Only the French seem to think everybody can spend 30 hrs a week working, 80hrs consuming what other people have worked for and another 58 hours sleeping.
  2. Given it probably costs £70-100k per unit to build a development of semi detached homes, good quality housing (perhaps not owning a new semi though) should be well within the reach of somebody working on the minimum wage. Paying very little income tax someone could afford £400-500 per month on rent and have about the same again to live on. Somebody grossing £1000-1100 pcm would not find decent quality housing out of reach in a functioning market, unless the landmass was solid with high rise, which it most certainly isn't! Of course here and now, the 2 bed LHA rate in Ashford is £600pcm and Basingstoke is £695cm - and that is now paid supposedly at the 30th percentile, so more likely to be substandard. Make work pay and take workers out of means tested welfare.
  3. It certainly doesn't help that the government subsidies the purchase on said housing, to the exclusion of non new build housing, potentially creating an artifical market. Far be it from me to judge on the architectural aesthetics. The high price of land is in no small part responsible for small plot sizes as well as various government 'input' on housing density. The market still works, if the houses really are that bad nobody would buy them - there are plenty of non new builds to choose from at comparable if not lower prices. Housebuilding ought to be contestible, so if huge profits are being made by developers, opening the land market will not only reduce unit costs for all but encourage new entrants. Even the Telegraph articles suggest they have 2 years construction banked at the current dismal rates of construction, so I don't agree that the whole country has been carved up into developers fiefdoms just yet. Again, without looking mind, the market for bio-fuel is more than likely an artifical one created by governments, no doubt well meant to fix one or other of its other problems (taxes on burning fossil fuels perhaps, if not naked bio-fuel subsidies). Suffice to say that without government interference we would most likely burn fuel and eat food, not the other way around!
  4. Check out the Policy Exchange link - land banking is a rational economic response to the government interference in the market. It is the government that has the land market sewn up! Compulsory resale of derelict eyesores, half finished builds and unstarted developments? Time limit on planning consent perhaps? There are certainly much worse ideas on this thread!
  5. I meant in the sense of paying for them. If somebody is at the subsistence level and has another child, there is no alternative but to increase welfare. I don't like welfare either, but nor do I want to live in a country where pushing children from subsistence to destitution is considered an acceptable policy. I completely disagree. Everything from the amount of parking, garages, bathrooms, garden size, bedrooms, location, density, dwelling type is driven (or should be) by market signals. Free of interference from government the market will produce the houses people want at the price they can afford. If any developer doesn't they will be going bust. Anybody doing it better, will make profit and will quickly be imitated. Look around at the market for everything else you buy - you have gone into the trap of thinking of housing units as you see them on youtube videos taken behind the iron curtain. State planning of housing will be as useless as state planning of anything, in fact the lead times are so long and the houses themselves so different, it is actually far more difficult than state planning of say lettuce production. What do you mean you want the leaves loose in a bag, with 3 different varities?
  6. Most MPs probably can't remember what they said last week on air, as it came straight from the party blackberry and their policy changes according to the latest Sun headline.
  7. Given the amount of farmland, I suspect it might be even lower and you wouldn't need the compulsory part, as even with farm subsidies it must have far more value as housing. But in any case think of the effect of taking 66% off the price of building land on house prices, rents, poverty and welfare payments! Hopefully there would be a GCT liability - large financial rewards for no work never feels great when it is someone else...
  8. I apologise. I was confused by Reply #105 which was a reply to the idea that the tax allowance be raised to the level of average wages. For most existing taxpayers this would be effectively abolished. The two of you both seem to advocate a CI but would apply it in a very different way? I agree about not funnelling taxpayers money to property speculators, the problem is social housing is a state solution to a state made problem. With a regulated private rental market with enforced standards and low transation costs and house prices reflective of a functioning land market, there would be little need for either welfare or the state, certainly for those in work, removing the many perils of centralised planning which manifest themeselves whenever this approach is tried.
  9. It is not really relevant to this discussion, as it is a minor factor but government standards and procurement, as well as their inevitable incompetence would inflate the cost to a degree. Many government standards are higher for social than private housing and this was equally true before the war. But the devil is state planning. As you will see from the link elsewhere in the thread, that applies equally to state planning of social housing construction, state planning of housing densities, state subsidies and guarentees to house buyers and state planning of land allocation through planning control. I am afraid you completely misunderstand my motives - I would want to see an end to centralised planning and land allocation, and end to HB, and an end to social housing, but with a better regulated private rented sector that suits the needs of people who need a house to live in, rather the convenience of property speculators. We don't have state allocation and construction of cars and we don't need it for housing either. You work, you earn, and you buy both the essentials and discretionary items in the market. People earning £15-20k should not need to be receiving welfare payments to afford housing - from governments who say the welfare cost is unaffordable, but whose own policies make a neccessity. As soon as the state gets involved you have developments with no parking, hideous concrete blocks that get knocked down or the wrong mix of housing in the wrong place because it was planned outside of the market. It is just another example of the state trying and failing to correct problems of its own making.
  10. My £100k figure was very roughly based on a 3 bed developer built house. The sort of thing that sells for anything of the order £180-250k outside London. Of course farmland prices and land with planning permission are very different beasts, which is the root of the whole problem. Looking randomly at LHA rates Bolton - 3 bed LHA is £114/pw, Carlisle £112/pw, Chichester £196/pw, even after it supposedly changed from the median to the 30th precentile... Shows why welfare is still so high and the current system is such a mess and why it gets worse every time a politican touches it. Even in Chichester a house that costs new we think £70-100k + farmland, is over £10k per year to rent and not far short of a full time minimum wage. Expressed another way, doing 'self build' at resale prices - a £180k typical UK house price at £6.19/hr it would take 14 years of continuous graft! Clearly nonsense.
  11. There are a number of possible issues: 1) The land banks are illusory and simply reflect the time taken to get through planning, building control and design 2) The land cannot be developed profitably. In other words the current sale price would not meet the build cost as the land cost is sunk. 3) The land price is expected to rise, increasing either house prices or land resale value, generating profit. 4) A cartel or oligopoly type system exists where land is bought up to prevent competition and developed very slowly to maintain high prices. 5) Developers cannot borrow funds, or access labour / materials to build. If there are blockages to the market functioning, these need to be addressed, but to theorise the market does not want to conduct activity nor make a profit is frankly incredible. The reality is that the blockages are almost certainly being caused by government, and are almost certainly related to restrictions on land use and the effect on land prices - as 4) is unlikely in what is aside from the limited supply of land a pretty contestible market. So my proposal for reform, would be to facilitate a free (or freer) market for housing as we have for just about every other good in the UK. Judging by the lack of outward migration from the UK to holiday destinations such as East Berlin and Pyonyang, I would judge that while not perfect, the market usually does a pretty good job, despite the best, and often best intended interference from governments. http://www.policyexchange.org.uk/images/publications/why%20arent%20we%20building%20enough%20attractive%20homes.pdf
  12. £30/pw is ludicrous. It is similar to a weekly diet of misadvertised food from the horse supermarket line. If I was being uncharitable I might suggest that just about covers the depriciation on the double glazed windows! A very great number of units built in that period were so grotesque, unpopular and structurally unsound that they were razed, sometimes after as little as 20 years. There is no reason why in a functioning market government can produce houses more cheaply than the private sector. If you build houses and sell or rent them at a loss, that is just another way of spending housing benefit without calling it welfare. The government is rarely in such a mess as when it is specifying, building, pricing and allocating social housing only to sell it to tenants at a fraction of market price and pay the private sector to build more at the expense of future house purchasers, whilst guarenteeing loans to the same because they cannot afford to buy houses and telling us it cannot afford to build social housing because of the effect of its own policies on land prices. The private sector can build houses for around £100k per unit, possibly less, and were the market allowed to function, housing both for purchase and rent like other non-scarce goods would become affordable, without turning us into East Germany.
  13. I am not sure of the exact meaning of your question, but I will attempt an answer: In an ideal world a person working full time at the statutory minimum wage with no dependents should not require state top ups. There is very likely a role for welfare where people do not work, or work full time or where there are dependents they cannot support. There may also be a case for something like Child Benefit, even on a semi universal scale. The reality of high house prices today is that welfare payments are a basic necessity for many on the minimum wage and in some areas they are so for quite good incomes too.
  14. No politician can get past the reality that any subsistence level benefit needs to increase with the number of mouths to feed and living area to accommodate them. While parents should take responsibility for family planning, unless you are in favour of licensing procreation, mass sterlisation, forced adoption or infanticide, once children are born, somebody has to look after them. Now I could well argue that the current targeting of relative child poverty measures means families with children get more benefits than they need, and may even encourage people to have more children, but unless welfare to all families is sufficient to cover 5 children, nobody will be scrapping welfare payments for subsequent children. As for mass state housebuilding - it sounds like a real life workers paradise... If the government stuck its beak out of housing policy the market would produce affordable housing in the true sense, free of means testing, state planning, spare bedroom inspectors and the other such delights. Already I can see Gordon Brown hunched over a spreadsheet: House Building Delivery Plan 15/16 16/17 17/18 Stirling - 1 bed workers bedsit 125 230 180 Arbroath - 2 bed workers flat 116 435 38 Waltham Forest - 1 bed workers flat 419 558 261
  15. Unfortunately there are 49m adults in the UK. A very great many, particularly pensioners and people on subsistence benefits do not break the threshold. £100/pw is derisory, JSA + the most basic housing costs in lets say Birmingham LHA is £55/pw at the shared rate and £96/pw at the 1 bed rate. For reference the minimum wage is £247/pw. As a citizens income it fails completely in its basic purpose. 49m x £175pw would be £450bn - more like the total of all government spending put together, even if you abolished all tax allowances rather than abolish income tax for most of the population, which I believe you actually did suggest? I was briefly seduced by the idea of using CI to abolish welfare and means testing and I can see the attractions of it. But sadly crunch the numbers and it is adrift of a realistic prospect by many hundreds of £bn per year. Even £247/pw does not work as a subsistence level income in a good part of the country because housing is so expensive.
  16. I would certainly agree with this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2013/jan/08/uk-benefit-welfare-spending#zoomed-picture JSA is £5bn out of £214bn, council tax benefit a smidgeon more. The two biggies are housing and pensions. Arguably the latter should be balanced against NI receipts which is what these are meant to pay for, but we are still very far away from the idea that if you want to retire you need to save up for it first. As little as 10 years ago many private pension schemes were on payment holidays, and the actuaries responsible deserve equal treatment to any banker. Now a lot has changed since I worked for £3/hr - but since a £650pcm rent will see you right in a good deal of the country bar London & SE - why doesn't work already pay? The minimum wage is already about £70/week above this rent figure, funnily enough almost the same as JSA. So apart from all the dubious measures of "relative" child poverty why not take an axe to these 'in work' benefits? House prices, or more relevantly rent, are still very important, and in a good part of the SE work on the minimum wage cannot pay. Housing can and should be cheaper - imagine if we only eat corn, and the government restricting growing corn to brownfield sites. The rich would use their incomes to buy more corn than they actually needed, bidding up the price for those on low incomes. As the idea of citizens eating grass is unpalateable in a developed country, in steps the government paying corn benefits to help people buy the stuff. I am sure we could think of a more sensible market led solution to the problem, if only a former Poet Laureate and notables would zip it. Then we wouldn't need Red Dave trying to determine how many bedrooms each citizen of the workers paradise needs. If we had better regulated private rental market without all the daft fees and enforceable tenant rights and quality standards, we could abolish state housing, pay means tested benefits and let people choose their own houses. As there is no functioning market for state housing, it is currently impossible to trade down to avoid the bedroom tax or whatever you wish to call it. Another success chalked up for centralised planning of dwelling house sizes.
  17. The more I read about CI the more daft it sounds. I did some numbers on CI probably years ago now which showed it would be the same order of magnitude of all government spending. Contrary to popular belief most people work and pay tax. That is why welfare is circa £200bn and GDP very roughly something like £1.5tr. Now you are even suggesting taking most of the population out of income tax altogether (most are paid less than the mean wage). Wihout increasing the % values, everybody, even millionaires would benefit. Income tax is worth £150bn a year. While a land tax is not completely impossible and it may be fashionable to say that we are governed by fools, there is not a snowball in hells chance of the others.
  18. They can, although without surveys it is a double edged sword. If the survey came back and said it was a wrong un, you might quite like the idea of pulling out without penalty. The real problem is that you offer without knowing anything about the property, giving ample opportunity for counter offers, change of heart, buyers renegotiating the price etc.... If a survey, gas and electrical inspection were done as part of a sellers pack you could start thinking about locking in the sale and creating penalties for either party changing their mind. It wouldn't prevent gazumping but at least you wouldn't be out of pocket.
  19. Like the telephone, the internet, smartphones, tablets, video conferencing or laptop computers? The whole business case for it hinges on the value of travelling time saved by business users. Many of them find reasons to travel just to be away from the OH or the office or both. They will just have to travel further to make a day of it.
  20. Might be tricky to get a mortgage for a start. One stroke of the surveyors pencil and it would be razed. Best hope nobody 'important' lives within 1000 yards of the other side of it.
  21. Is the planet getting warmer? Yes, though some suggestions it may have very recently have stablilised or even begun colling. Is the planet as warm as it has ever been? No Is the rate of warming the fastest it has ever been? Not sure Does the current rate of warming predate deforestation and industrialisation? Debateable Is pumping bn of tonnes of nasties (just about anything is more harmful than CO2) into the atmosphere going to cause bad things to happen? Quite Probably Do I believe Al Gore's notion that by making a few relatively minor adjustments to our collective lifestyles to moderately reduce the quantity of nasties being emitted, we can avert some otherwise unavoidable disaster? Not a chance.... http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterferrara/2012/05/31/sorry-global-warming-alarmists-the-earth-is-cooling/
  22. The numbers come from looking at the current service and the projected HS2 service (which is far from finalised). Currently there are typically 6 long distance express trains from Kings Cross, 2 from St Pancras and 9 from Euston per hour, with 500-600 seats each. It was the HS2 campaigners in my previous link who got fed up with being told the loadings of taxpayer funded trains were commercially sensitive, so went out and counted up the people using them for themselves. They did acknowledge there is a well known problem leaving London at 7pm as soon as the cheap(er) tickets have to made be available - this blip is hardly a reason for spending £35bn. The current trains are 4/9 cars First Class, including a huge kitchen area when the journey to Birmingham is barely an hour. They also noted that a some long distance trains from Euston were getting crowded by Milton Keynes commuters, a feature of having different companies on the route competing for their business. Many of the trains will soon be extended to 11 cars, and by looking again at First Class and kitchens, so there is obvious potential to greatly increase capacity from present levels by doing relatively little. Will Hutton is getting a bit carried away with all this talk of collective action and national self belief. The French had the right idea - a new line across open fields from the edge of Paris to the edge of Lyon. It cost Euro 3.5bn (at 2007 prices) and was the rough distance of London - Newcastle. I don't think there was a single tunnel. The economy needs shovel ready infrastructure investment, not lawyers, consultants and planning consultants charging their services to the taxpayer for years to come. More measured and incremental change will bring additional capacity more quickly and in a way that is affordable - unlike HS2. The recent upgrade of the London - Birmingham line via Banbury would be one example - it is now almost as fast as the line from Euston. All the rail fares paid in the UK add up to around £6bn per year. 4% interest on £35bn is £1.4bn before a train even moves.
  23. Midlands / North - London rail travel is not currently in that magnitude. 20,000 seats per hour on double deck trains, is roughly double the current capacity on all three of the main long distance routes from Euston, Kings Cross and St Pancras combined, which are nothing like full. HS2 relies heavily on completely new journeys (each of which would have a large subsidy) and would not even result in a large modal shift from air / car. HS2 began life as the Conservative party's alternative to Runway 3. The current line will not even go to Heathrow and will not be much quicker from London to Scotland than the existing trains because of the circuitous route. Meanwhile the majority of the freight currently using the West Coast line (shipping containers to Felixstowe) will be diverted cross country by a separate upgrade project. http://hs2questions.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/there-is-absolutely-no-capacity-case-for-hs2/
  24. Does that include £1,450 for Saltire flags during the Olympic Torch relay? When the economic growth figures come out for Q3, we shall find out how crowding out theory really works in practice. With London practically shut down for over 3 weeks, £25bn could look like a very low estimate by then. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/9333204/Alex-Salmonds-men-in-black-try-to-make-Olympics-less-British.html
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