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Mikhail Liebenstein

Tory U Turn On Council Housing

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Now this is interesting!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/jul...ow-cost-housing

Tory about-turn on council houses

The Conservatives are preparing to unleash a new era of council house-building, in a radical shift that would undo 30 years of right-wing thinking.

The shadow housing minister, Grant Shapps, said the Conservatives want to increase council involvement in low-cost housing, overturning one of Margaret Thatcher's trademark policies.

Conservative insiders are quick to stress they do not wish to see a return to the days of large-scale municipal estates. But they are preparing the ground to allow councils to build tens of thousands of new homes in smaller developments.

Tory leaders are convinced housing is an area where they can outflank the government. Under Labour, the number of households on waiting lists has nearly doubled in 12 years to 1.8 million. At the same time, the amount of new homes built in Britain this year is expected to plumb new depths, despite Gordon Brown's ambitious targets of building millions of new properties.

"We're very enthusiastic about encouraging local leadership and innovation," said Shapps. "I think it's localism. They [councils] can do a lot more."

Shapps last week joined London's mayor, Boris Johnson, in Croydon, which became one of the first councils in years to let a substantial number of homes to tenants on its waiting lists. Croydon is Tory-controlled and plans to build about 100 properties a year. The Conservatives believe if the model was replicated across the country it would go some way to solve the national housing crisis.

The Tories' plans, which have yet to be finalised, were cautiously welcomed by the homeless campaign charity Shelter, which said any moves to increase the supply of low-cost homes was welcome, but it wanted to see full details before commenting further.

The policy marks a radical departure because Mrs Thatcher's right-to-buy policy saw tens of thousands of council homes snapped up at knockdown prices.

Moreover, councils were not allowed to keep the cash made from selling houses to replace stock, which led to a sharp fall in new-build homes which helped stoke house price inflation.

As well as a new council housing policy, the Conservatives will strongly encourage pension funds to invest billions in low-cost housing for rent. The Tories recognise that Britain's housebuilders are in effect on a "go slow" as the price of their land assets shrivel while they struggle under the debt they took on buying land during the boom years.

More seriously, many housing associations, which for the past 15 years have been the main providers of cheap housing, are themselves in trouble, having paid too much for land in recent years.

As a result, experts predict that the number of homes built in Britain this year will hit depths not seen since the second world war. Fewer than 90,000 homes are expected to be built this year, 150,000 below government targets.

The Tories will turn to pension funds and are set to scrap stamp duty for City institutions that want to build and buy large numbers of low-cost homes to rent. The move will be welcomed by the City, which has long investigated ways of taking advantage of the steady income streams that rents bring, but it has been put off the sector because of the volatility of house prices and the cost of buying and selling large portfolios of homes.

The Tories believe pension funds will "professionalise" landlord services and represent better managers of homes than serial buy-to-let investors who, at the height of the boom, bought two thirds of all new properties built in London.

At present, individual buy-to-let investors can escape stamp duty because they generally only buy homes one at a time. But pension funds will only be interested in large portfolios.

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The Tories believe pension funds will "professionalise" landlord services and represent better managers of homes than serial buy-to-let investors who, at the height of the boom, bought two thirds of all new properties built in London.

The Continental route. How refreshing - and how surprising.

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The Continental route. How refreshing - and how surprising.

I'm very supportive of this. Pension funds are generally the good guys in the city, the trouble is that they get done over by investment banks and self aggrandising and self enriching company directors. I'd rather see more activism from the pension funds and investment banks speculative operations shut down.

Edited by mikelivingstone

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The Tories are very London driven in their attitudes as they all live in Notting Hill and use the tube etc.

Even the well off middle class - natural Tory voters - cannot afford to live in London now. Council homes for Tory middle class voters in Putney and Fulham!

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As well as a new council housing policy, the Conservatives will strongly encourage pension funds to invest billions in low-cost housing for rent

So we'll all be BTLers. :P

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Does this mean the housing policy of the 80's & 90's was wrong then for the long term?

Since when has any government looked at the long term anything? :)

Selling off council houses on the cheap was an excellent way of getting votes.

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The Continental route. How refreshing - and how surprising.

indeed - excellent.

I look forward, hopefully, to renting a nice modern reasonably sized house from such an organisation within which I can raise my future family, whilst I invest more sensibly in a more diversified portfolio than a single highly leveraged house.

Similarly, I am hopeful that the contractual conditions prove to be favourable to families too - for example, I hardly want to be worrying about the hassle of arranging a new contract every year based on a landlord whimsically wanting to screw money from me, or for that matter having to move home with a small child.

This sounds good, so far.

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Pension funds can't fund pensions from stock market, as stock market is going down.

So Tories want them to sponge off the poor in the long term, and siphon lots of cash to Tory developers to build them while construction workers work for nothing in the middle of the depression.

Can't see what this has to do with the government, unless the Tories think the public should be subsidising the Tory developers .

Since government has no money, sounds like a sound-bite to get votes. If I was a pension fund, I'd be in PMs, not buying up so called development opportunities.

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wrt the private pension companies investing - this isn't far off the REITS legislation came into law in 2007 (I think) by the current administration - except wioth the added 'encouragement' of pension funds to partake.

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Since government has no money, sounds like a sound-bite to get votes. If I was a pension fund, I'd be in PMs, not buying up so called development opportunities.

Not sure about PMs, but id be out of Britain, thats for sure.

Just another govt black hole. If they overhauled the planning system housing would be affordable AND free from the inefficiencies of govt. But we've got to keep the landed gentry filthy rich i guess.

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I'm very supportive of this. Pension funds are generally the good guys in the city, the trouble is that they get done over by investment banks and self aggrandising and self enriching company directors. I'd rather see more activism from the pension funds and investment banks speculative operations shut down.

My pension statement last year told a different story. I'm glad I've only been paying in the minimum 9% (of which 3% comes from me) as they've somehow managed to ensure my fund is worth less than the total amount paid in over the last 5 years.

I'll let you off - you did say 'generally' - maybe my company picked a rubbish provider :)

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My pension statement last year told a different story. I'm glad I've only been paying in the minimum 9% (of which 3% comes from me) as they've somehow managed to ensure my fund is worth less than the total amount paid in over the last 5 years.

I'll let you off - you did say 'generally' - maybe my company picked a rubbish provider :)

perhaps you should informed your pension company that you werte onyl interested in 5 yrs of returns and the long term was unimportant, in which case they would have altered the asset allocation accordingly towards cash and bonds instead of equities.

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perhaps you should informed your pension company that you werte onyl interested in 5 yrs of returns and the long term was unimportant, in which case they would have altered the asset allocation accordingly towards cash and bonds instead of equities.

That argument sounds a little like the BTL investors who bought at the top and try and pretend the current situation is not an issue as "They're in it for the long term - it will go up eventually". Fact is the pension provider to date have got it wrong - they've managed to lose money. Don't get me wrong - I couldn't have done any better - I was just saying they're no better than the other professional gamblers in the city.

I'm probably still slightly better off having put the money in the pension rather than in savings, but only due to the 40% tax break.

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Hands up all those that would like the local council as their landlord.

It would be a complete disaster, the public sector don't do services anymore. They do consultants and spying on wheelie bins.

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I'd much prefer the council as my landlord, thank you very much.

Tory leaders are convinced housing is an area where they can outflank the government.

Damn straight. How could they possibly do any worse?

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this is really stupid, we need to downsize the state not embolden it and get it involved in housing. what a disaster

we really just need to free up the developers and let them get on with it, i dont understand why councils or the government should be involved in housing, then again I dont know why they should be involved in setting interest rates. they should just f**k off!

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Pension companies: their only duty is to maximise the income of their pension holders...so it's another case of inter-generational theft, with grandma gouging her own grandchildren, this time for rent.

To introduce an unwelcome element into the discussion: my personal view is that militant squatting is more likely than paying large amounts of rent, so it ain't going to work. Given the number of empty/repossessed hovels and the cost of evicting squatters, once the Tories get in and start sacking all the civil servants, squatting is likely to increase and get militant. It's hard to collect rent if you need an army of bailiffs to fight their way in through the door.

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So we'll all be BTLers. :P

I might be villified for saying this , but for the life of me i cant see why so many villify the BTL landlord out of principle. Sure many have made a packet, and lately some will be loosing out, much to somes glee. But the simple fact is that now they wont be around in any numbers from now on it will be joe public and the taxpayer who is going to have to pick up the tab now for housing the many millions who will need it.. On top of housing ourselves if we can, we will have to pay through taxes to house everyone. In the coming financial times many might rue the day private investors were ejected from the scene of providing housing for others. Not many now will risk their own money for others in this country now. Not me anymore.

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Previous tory and NuLab housing policy has been a disaster, with private homes brutally expensive thank to loose lending and no social alternative for the priced out masses, who are left to the mercy of ratbag BTL speculators.

Unless you're some kind of neoliberal extremist, it's obvious that the big council housing sell off was a balls-up on a mind-boggling scale.

Housing is arguably more important than the provision of education or healthcare, and actually impacts these things, but imagine the scene if millions were priced out of medical care or education?

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That argument sounds a little like the BTL investors who bought at the top and try and pretend the current situation is not an issue as "They're in it for the long term - it will go up eventually". Fact is the pension provider to date have got it wrong - they've managed to lose money. Don't get me wrong - I couldn't have done any better - I was just saying they're no better than the other professional gamblers in the city.

I'm probably still slightly better off having put the money in the pension rather than in savings, but only due to the 40% tax break.

If you're under 50 I wouldn't worry. Most of the return on equities is from dividends any way Capital values do go up and down over time and if you can time it great, but its not easy. My fund was down in 2002, but was then subsequently up. It is about 15% off peak at the moment, and still well above 2002.

Edited by mikelivingstone

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housing is expensive because of all the regulations, planning, bureaucracy, councils, EU directives etc. it takes developers like 10 years to develop a piece of land after going through inquiries, consultations and so on. we need to free them up and let them get on with it so they can produce homes quickly, cheaply and to a high standard

this scheme sounds like a way of the City becoming a mass slum landlord

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Previous tory and NuLab housing policy has been a disaster, with private homes brutally expensive thank to loose lending and no social alternative for the priced out masses, who are left to the mercy of ratbag BTL speculators.

Unless you're some kind of neoliberal extremist, it's obvious that the big council housing sell off was a balls-up on a mind-boggling scale.

Housing is arguably more important than the provision of education or healthcare, and actually impacts these things, but imagine the scene if millions were priced out of medical care or education?

housing is so important so it must be provided by the state :lol: After all, they do a wonderful job with the healthcare and education

the state is bankrupt, inefficient and corrupt

I would say Food is important but we dont have government run supermarkets do we? so why should government provide houses, schools or hospitals? the end result is always poor service

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Pension funds can't fund pensions from stock market, as stock market is going down.

So Tories want them to sponge off the poor in the long term, and siphon lots of cash to Tory developers to build them while construction workers work for nothing in the middle of the depression.

Can't see what this has to do with the government, unless the Tories think the public should be subsidising the Tory developers .

Since government has no money, sounds like a sound-bite to get votes. If I was a pension fund, I'd be in PMs, not buying up so called development opportunities.

Christ, this is the most stupid non-Bull post I have seen for ages.

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