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The Great Estate: The Rise And Fall Of The Council House

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9pm BBC 4

Could be interesting...

.....two people I know bought their council houses cheap around £30k and now rent them back to the council long term guaranteed rent charging over £1000 per month....the current tax payer now has to find this extra money. ;)

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0109dvs

Journalist and author Michael Collins presents a hard-hitting and heartwarming history of one of Britain's greatest social revolutions - council housing.

At its height in the mid-1970s, council housing provided homes for over a third of the British population. From the 'homes for heroes' cottages that were built in the wake of the First World War to the much-maligned, monolithic high rises of the 60s and 70s, Collins embarks on a grand tour of Britain's council estates.

He visits Britain's first council estate, built as an antidote to London's disease and crime-ridden Victorian slums, the groundbreaking flats that made inter-war Liverpool the envy of Europe, the high rise estate in Sheffield that has become the largest listed building in the world, and the estate built on the banks of the Thames that was billed as 'the town of the 21st century'.

Along the way he meets the people whose lives were shaped by an extraordinary social experiment that began with a bang at the start of the 20th century and ended with a whimper 80 years later.

--------

There are now about 4M people living in council properties?

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In London where I lived they were not 'council estates' they were tree lined residential roads mixed in with private roads, the houses had three good sized bedrooms nice front and rear gardens and room at the side....the people that lived in these houses were low paid WORKING people, their children mixed with the children from the private roads and they went to the same schools....there was no sigma about why they lived there, all were a asset to the local community....the council homes were an affordable option for those that could not afford a large deposit and a mortgage......most of them did not want a mortgage, all they wanted was a secure and affordable home to live and to bring their families up......today those houses are selling in excess of £300k. ;)

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We need more council housing.

Currently we have privatized social housing, where people are housed in poor conditions at great expense to the state for the benefit of a parasitic few.

Some of these Buy 2 let parasites should be executed in public.

I will gladly execute them for minimum wage, I could do with the overtime to pay the housing association rent which constantly rises above inflation.

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Its be a possible winning ticket for Ed Milliband to compose a policy of building council homes for the generation of priced out under 40s who'll have reached 44/45 by the next election, an ever growing section of the electorate.

Thing is these days theyll not be for the genuine working class as theyll be too rich, itll be the benefit breed who would get first dibs!

Edited by mark1

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Just posted this on my own thread , didn't see this one on council houses...........

Cut a long story short , been given notice on place we rent LL wants to sell

had a lot of problems with damp mould so not to bothered about moving.

Looked a place after work originally up for £1095 now advertised at £995

There's not a lot in the area that we want, we are limited because of location of

childminder (near Slough) EA young bloke, typical EA but seemed pretty on the ball

apparently Slough Council have written to local EA's saying they need to house 3000

people and have offered the LL of this property £1250!!!!

Now obviously I take what EA's say with a pinch of salt but he seemed genuine and as equally

shocked as us. The LL had previously lived in the house so don't think it's a BTL

and they want a profesional working family in there , fair play to them

but how many don't give a monkeys as long as they are getting paid.

We said most we would go to is £950 and he said he would put it to them.

So now we are competing with the local council and utimately the tax payer which I am myself

to find somewhere to live over a family of Somalis , Eastern European , unemployed English family

take your pick , f*cking brilliant , how did we get into this mess.

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The tragedy is you can bet most of those that spoke of their joy about getting a council house, bought the place at a huge discount and sold it making great profits taking such a joy way from the current generation they seem all to happy to slag off! Yet theyll tell anyone thatll listen how tough theyve had it!

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I will gladly execute them for minimum wage, I could do with the overtime to pay the housing association rent which constantly rises above inflation.

I guess you mean constantly rises above wage inflation, as does mine. Are you seeing rises of 7% too?

This will surely kill off council housing and HA's, renting privately will become cheaper! Still, at least we'd be able bleat about other people being subsidised from our taxes...would be a comfort wouldn't it.

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So now we are competing with the local council and utimately the tax payer which I am myself

to find somewhere to live over a family of Somalis , Eastern European , unemployed English family

take your pick , f*cking brilliant , how did we get into this mess.

It's the price we've payed for house price inflation is it not? (...ooophs, I forgot for a moment that I'm one of the lucky ones!)

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I guess you mean constantly rises above wage inflation, as does mine. Are you seeing rises of 7% too?

This will surely kill off council housing and HA's, renting privately will become cheaper! Still, at least we'd be able bleat about other people being subsidised from our taxes...would be a comfort wouldn't it.

It looks about that. Wage rise of 0%, transport up by nearly 10%. Wage is only 5% higher than min wage, so pretty much going to be on min wage again soon.

And only on marginally above dole as it is.

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Great programme...

But I'm really shocked at what happened to Britain between 1950s and today. Why is everything so messed up today?

No respect, no pride, no sense of belonging... :(

Where's progress?

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We do still build council houses, but they are now caused social housing, and most are built by private developers who are forced to supply them in order to get planning permission to build houses for private sale. In my area the Council requires developers to provide 40% social housing on all sites above 5 units.

The economics work like this: the housing association pays the developer a nominal sum, supposedly based on the "fair" rent that will be charged to the lucky, lucky people who get to live in the subsidised affordable homes. The amount paid rarely covers the build cost, so the developer gets nothing towards the land, the S106 roof tax (currently £25,000 per house on average), or his development and finance costs, and hence he makes zero profit. Indeed, since Affordable Homes have to be built first, to a higher specification and to Code 3 or 4 for Sustainable Homes, the developer now often loses money because build costs are now exceeding the paltry "affordable" money he receives.

The result is that the remaining 60% of the site that's allowed to be sold to private buyers has to carry 100% of the land cost and 100% of the development costs and the developer's profit margin, which he uses to keep himself in business, pay dividends to his shareholder, and pay himself a salary.

And people wonder why new houses for private sale are built on small plots and are so expensive!

There is a gigantic social experiment going on with these new estates, where you have 60% private buyers forced to live next to 40% "affordable" people, who generally sit on their backsides all day living off benefits, or they may be "key workers" that new Labour decided were worthy members of the client state. In my area (Reading), the affordable 3-bedroom houses on these estates are on ultra-low rents of just over £90 a week. The private rent for such a property would be about £250 a week. Quite a few of the private houses have been bought by BTL landlords and rented out as houseshares with 4 or 5 people in them. This causes many problems with 4/5 cars per property spilling out into the very narrow streets, so buses and refuse lorries can't get down them. There is also simmering resentment amongst the private tenants, that they are paying around £350 a month for a room in a shared house, while the layabouts on benefits get a whole house for virtually the same price. The private buyers aren't too chuffed either at living next to social tenants, or a key worker who may be a teacher or doctor on, say, £35-50,000 a year, yet is paying about £110 a week in rent.

It's all too simple to blame BTL landlords for everything. In my view they are just doing what comes naturally to anyone with some spare capital who doesn't trust stock markets or pensions and wants to invest in something they can understand and improve through their own efforts. The supply and quality of rented housing has improved vastly in my lifetime since the 1988 Housing Act that introduced assured shorthold tenancies, and this is a very good thing. At the same time there is an appalling undersupply of new housing to buy, becuase of highly restrictive planning laws and because the Government has decided to fund social housing by taxing developers until they can barely make an economic return, rather than fund council housing through general taxation.

In my view it would make sense to return to the housing policies of the 1950s: fund large council housing schemes through general taxation for the good of the whole country, pay the developers and builders a sensible profitable price for their work, and tax house price inflation on private houses by charging capital gains tax, just as BTL landlords have to pay. The latter policy would aim to kill off the gravy train of irrational capital gains on private housing and would rapidly diminish people's enthusiasm for owning private property. Your decision to buy a house should not be driven by what is basically a government tax bribe of free capital gains on the property.

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It looks about that. Wage rise of 0%, transport up by nearly 10%. Wage is only 5% higher than min wage, so pretty much going to be on min wage again soon.

And only on marginally above dole as it is.

Yep. I just work Part-time and will get around 0.5% this year, could be less! All overtime was stopped last year. The wife will get 2% as she is a low paid NHS dogs body!

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The private buyers aren't too chuffed either at living next to social tenants, or a key worker who may be a teacher or doctor on, say, £35-50,000 a year, yet is paying about £110 a week in rent.

I sell on New build development's the buyers already know that on a new development there is going to be social housing , but the first thing most of them say when they enter the sales office is something like

" Um im not a snob but where is the social housing "

I think their biggest fear is buying their house and finding themselves next to a family from hell who would destroy their life style.

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We do still build council houses, but they are now caused social housing, and most are built by private developers who are forced to supply them in order to get planning permission to build houses for private sale. In my area the Council requires developers to provide 40% social housing on all sites above 5 units.

The economics work like this: the housing association pays the developer a nominal sum, supposedly based on the "fair" rent that will be charged to the lucky, lucky people who get to live in the subsidised affordable homes. The amount paid rarely covers the build cost, so the developer gets nothing towards the land, the S106 roof tax (currently £25,000 per house on average), or his development and finance costs, and hence he makes zero profit. Indeed, since Affordable Homes have to be built first, to a higher specification and to Code 3 or 4 for Sustainable Homes, the developer now often loses money because build costs are Inow exceeding the paltry "affordable" money he receives.

The result is that the remaining 60% of the site that's allowed to be sold to private buyers has to carry 100% of the land cost and 100% of the development costs and the developer's profit margin, which he uses to keep himself in business, pay dividends to his shareholder, and pay himself a salary.

And people wonder why new houses for private sale are built on small plots and are so expensive!

There is a gigantic social experiment going on with these new estates, where you have 60% private buyers forced to live next to 40% "affordable" people, who generally sit on their backsides all day living off benefits, or they may be "key workers" that new Labour decided were worthy members of the client state. In my area (Reading), the affordable 3-bedroom houses on these estates are on ultra-low rents of just over £90 a week. The private rent for such a property would be about £250 a week. Quite a few of the private houses have been bought by BTL landlords and rented out as houseshares with 4 or 5 people in them. This causes many problems with 4/5 cars per property spilling out into the very narrow streets, so buses and refuse lorries can't get down them. There is also simmering resentment amongst the private tenants, that they are paying around £350 a month for a room in a shared house, while the layabouts on benefits get a whole house for virtually the same price. The private buyers aren't too chuffed either at living next to social tenants, or a key worker who may be a teacher or doctor on, say, £35-50,000 a year, yet is paying about £110 a week in rent.

It's all too simple to blame BTL landlords for everything. In my view they are just doing what comes naturally to anyone with some spare capital who doesn't trust stock markets or pensions and wants to invest in something they can understand and improve through their own efforts. The supply and quality of rented housing has improved vastly in my lifetime since the 1988 Housing Act that introduced assured shorthold tenancies, and this is a very good thing. At the same time there is an appalling undersupply of new housing to buy, becuase of highly restrictive planning laws and because the Government has decided to fund social housing by taxing developers until they can barely make an economic return, rather than fund council housing through general taxation.

In my view it would make sense to return to the housing policies of the 1950s: fund large council housing schemes through general taxation for the good of the whole country, pay the developers and builders a sensible profitable price for their work, and tax house price inflation on private houses by charging capital gains tax, just as BTL landlords have to pay. The latter policy would aim to kill off the gravy train of irrational capital gains on private housing and would rapidly diminish people's enthusiasm for owning private property. Your decision to buy a house should not be driven by what is basically a government tax bribe of free capital gains on the property.

Great post.

Forcing builders to build social housing is a nonsense. Just letting them build privately causes housing costs to fall generally because of the extra supply.

Giving people homes for free means that working people get less, as they pay more tax, and pay more for their homes, leaving less for everything else.

If people weren't given free homes, many who don't work would suddenly find a job or two. Many work already, but don't declare, just to get a free house. Society as a whole would be better off if they supported themselves.

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Great programme...

But I'm really shocked at what happened to Britain between 1950s and today. Why is everything so messed up today?

No respect, no pride, no sense of belonging... :(

Where's progress?

Indeed, something went wrong over the past 30 to 40 years.

I didn't see the programme as I was working and have no TV but I imagine that this estate is pretty much as it was when it was built (1953) I guess I'm stuck in a time warp!

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@ developer.

Good post, interesting points.

I always find it surreal that there can be 'affordable housing' and then 'unaffordable' housing to counterbalance this.

Section 106, quotas, etc. all distort and corrupt the market. If social housing is needed, it should be built. The house council house sell off lunacy under Thatcher, I'm afraid started off the rot, promoting greed and envy at the expense of a sensible housing market that served to house people in reasonable comfort at a reasonable price.

Of course, the winners are those that control the debt.

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Is everyone is aware that the government intends selling it's entire housing stock (to councils) starting from April 2012? This seems to be a way of shifting more money to the banks over the next 30 years.

Oh well, at least there'll be a few billion less for mortgages.

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The tragedy is you can bet most of those that spoke of their joy about getting a council house, bought the place at a huge discount and sold it making great profits taking such a joy way from the current generation they seem all to happy to slag off! Yet theyll tell anyone thatll listen how tough theyve had it!

I detected a touch of that, here and there.

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The situation now is that more than half of the population are now what I would call "socialized" in that their income/living standards are defined by their need not their output, this population are pensioners, unemployed, disabled but also those on working tax credits and in receipt of housing benefit or in social housing, the genius of Labour has been to increase the size of this population to more than half the total thus ensuring a large client base. The marginal tax rates for these people is 75-100+% given benefit withdrawal so there is little incentive to work harder ( or at all ) as the income is basically what the government decides.

The non socialized remainder are not propped up by these credits or benefits and have to make their own way, the worst off of these have to compete at a huge disadvantage to the socialized for the same resource, ie those in the semi private estate shared house living next to the social tenant. For these marginal tax rates are much lower but the absolute income level is also much lower as the boxes have not been ticked for sufficient need to join the ranks of the sociiaized.

There is an assumption that the battle in the future will be a demographic one , old vs young but in reality I think it will be those on benefits vs those trying to pay their own way in life ...

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Great programme...

But I'm really shocked at what happened to Britain between 1950s and today. Why is everything so messed up today?

No respect, no pride, no sense of belonging... :(

Where's progress?

Bankers pay packets, which until the 80s were quite modest, are now many stand deviations above the European average wage.

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