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I Just Can't Afford Private Rent, Says Council Tenant Former Minister On £66,000 Salary

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Can't see this being posted elsewhere..

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2003995/Former-minister-Frank-Dobson-afford-private-rent-66k.html

An ex-Cabinet minister earning £66,000 a year who lives in one of the most expensive council homes in Britain has claimed he could not afford to rent a flat privately. Former Labour health secretary Frank Dobson, 71, has attacked Government plans to turf out the wealthy from homes owned by the state to make way for poorer families, or force them to pay market rents.

His opposition is not difficult to understand – he lives in a three-bedroom council flat in a mansion block where properties once belonging to the council but now in private hands sell for between £900,000 and £1million.

Mr Dobson’s household income is likely to fall into the £100,000 band, the figure the Government says should bar people from a council tenancy. His wife Janet is a university researcher and Mr Dobson is entitled to a state pension and claimed around £70,000 in expenses last year. The MP for Holborn and St Pancras says he ‘does not know’ exactly how much rent he pays to Camden Council in North London for the property he has lived in since becoming an MP in 1979.

But sources say it is likely to be around £160 a week – far short of the £1,000-a-week rent commanded by similar, private flats in his building. The mansion block was bought by Camden Council, the local authority Mr Dobson once led, for £1.1million in February 1979 after being earmarked for demolition in development plans which never went ahead. Mr Dobson was no longer on the council at the time. His home is a few hundred yards from the British Museum and is well placed to take advantage of the restaurants, galleries and theatres nearby.

Mr Dobson said he would not be able to rent privately. ‘I couldn’t – not very easily. Market rents in our area are phenomenal,’ he said.

‘Certainly not what would be regarded these days as the market rent. I wouldn’t be able to afford it.’

He added: ‘Very large numbers of people, who in any other part of the country would be regarded as reasonably well off, are not comfortably off in London because of house prices and rents, which are insane.’

Mr Dobson said Government plans to change the rules on who is eligible for a council house were ‘wrong’.

‘If people living in a council property are paying rent and they get a bit better off, if you want mixed communities you want them to stay and not leave so that another impoverished family moves in – because that way you create sink estates,’ he said.

‘The idea of a deliberate policy which increases the chance of creating sink estates seems to me to be loony.’

The only solution to the housing shortage was to build more social housing, he said. There are around 1.6million families on the waiting list for social housing, but only 160,000 properties become available every year. Housing minister Grant Shapps has said that social housing ‘is an expensive and scarce resource which should be targeted on supporting those in real need’.

Edited by Dave Beans

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Grant Shapps has said that social housing ‘is an expensive and scarce resource which should be targeted on supporting those in real need"

Then the solution is obvious, make more use of the property already in existance, better legislation to deal with derelict or under used housing, there is no housing shortage, just a shortage of common sense and an over supply of greedy VI bastards, most of them in positions of government. :angry:

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Then the solution is obvious, make more use of the property already in existance, better legislation to deal with derelict or under used housing, there is no housing shortage, just a shortage of common sense and an over supply of greedy VI bastards, most of them in positions of government. :angry:

It would be interesting to see how many Labour MPs, as well as top level union leaders are housed in this way...Of course they don't want the rules to change...

Edited by Dave Beans

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Clearly he needs to live in his constituency (which is in inner London) to represent his wider electorate. Living so close to Westminster he will not be entitled to the second homes wheeze the rest of them get away with. He is probably correct rents are high where he lives and what he means to say is he could not afford to live in the style he does if forced to rent privately.

TBH I always found Dobson to be an honourable politician even if I didn't agree with his politics, he spoke as he found and got up the noses of both Blair and Brown hence his banishment to the back benches.

The overall policy is sound those that can afford to buy/rent privately should not languish in social housing. However maybe there should be the odd means tested case?

All Dobson has to do to stay is resign his Parliamentary seat. This would reduce his annual income to within the limit set and allow him to keep his council house.

Hardly good for democracy is it though? Effectively a Tory policy forcing a Labour member out of Parliament and denying him the right to represent his constituents.

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I don't agree with some people having cheaper rents than others. At my last job I had 2 colleagues on similar incomes.

One paid £270 per month for a one bed flat in central London (council of course) the other £1200 for similar in Wimbledon.

How is that fair?

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"'Very large numbers of people, who in any other part of the country would be regarded as reasonably well off, are not comfortably off in London because of house prices and rents, which are insane' says Frank Dobson MP.

So Frank, what did you personally do about it when you were in power for 13 years? Answer ... Nothing.

One of the reasons I wouldn't even remotely consider looking for a job in London. How many people living in London and complaining about the prices even considered saying "sod this" and looking elsewhere?

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A stark reflection of the economic ineptitude that governed this country from 1997 for 13 years.

If he's truly that hard-up despite being in the top 1% earnings bracket for the last decade then his personal financial management skills are, by definition, utterly feckless. One can only shudder to think about what t he true state of public finances must actually be... invest accordingly.

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That's funny, my job is also in the Bloomsbury area. However, rather than sitting in a dirt cheap council flat or spending 50K a year on a private rental round the corner I participate in this activity called 'commuting'. I live in the suburbs where rent is cheaper and use the train or bus to travel from where I live to where I work every day. I believe that this is what most other people do who's occupation is based in central London. I wonder if I should write to Dobson explaining how this lifestyle option works. FFS!

Having said that the poor old duffer is in his 70s now so moving home after 30 years isn't going to be much fun.

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That's funny, my job is also in the Bloomsbury area. However, rather than sitting in a dirt cheap council flat or spending 50K a year on a private rental round the corner I participate in this activity called 'commuting'. I live in the suburbs where rent is cheaper and use the train or bus to travel from where I live to where I work every day. I believe that this is what most other people do who's occupation is based in central London. I wonder if I should write to Dobson explaining how this lifestyle option works. FFS!

Having said that the poor old duffer is in his 70s now so moving home after 30 years isn't going to be much fun.

Of course if everyone who lives near there who doesn't work was not given free accomodation the likes of you and me would not have to commute.

However please write to him.

Having said that the poor old duffer is in his 70s now so moving home after 30 years isn't going to be much fun.

He should have bought years ago instead of relying on us

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An ex-Cabinet minister earning £66,000 a year who lives in one of the most expensive council homes in Britain has claimed he could not afford to rent a flat privately.

...

‘Very large numbers of people, who in any other part of the country would be regarded as reasonably well off, are not comfortably off in London because of house prices and rents, which are insane.’

Prices in London are insane. I bought my 3 bed house (now 4 bed) in London about 10 years ago for just under £250K, but were I to rent it now it would make a big dent in my income of at least £2k/month.

But yes, Dobson and his mates are culpable in this in providing the environment for speculators and banks to drive the prices up.

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This is an unbelievably myopic policy.

In the heyday of council housing getting a council house was seen as a privilege, people were proud of their council homes and, for a time, council estates were huge successes.

From WIKI

In the immediate post-war years, and well into the 1950s, council house provision was shaped by the New Towns Act 1946 and the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 of the 1945–51 Labour government. At the same time this government introduced housing legislation that removed explicit references to housing for the working class and introduced the concept of 'general needs' construction (i.e. that council housing should aim to fill needs for a wide range of society). In particular, the Minister for Health & Housing (Aneurin Bevan) promoted a vision of new estates where "the working man, the doctor and the clergyman will live in close proximity to each other".

The rot set in when the housing criteria changed from priority given to working families and their relatives, who were vetted to ensure they would maintain the rent and uphold the rules, to housing the homeless and 'needy'. As always there is a very fine line between having a social conscience, being a safety net, and being an opt out or a queen size bed, for the feckless. When the housing policy changed the proportion of people with less social responsibility rose to the point where the good tenants started to move out, the rest is history.

We have seen a similar policy enacted through the back door with the provision of low cost and social housing now a requirement for most new private estates. I don't think this is a de facto bad thing so long as the councils don't start taking the piss and housing crackheads on nice estates which would be a huge cop out on their behalf. It will be interesting to see how the modern estates fare; will they go the way of council estates? Especially as folk that have bought start to see the house not as an investment or status symbol but as an albatross about their necks.

Anyway, Frank Dobson has landed on his feet in a £1M council flat and the press are seeing it as an opportunity to trumpet the flaws in the old policy and make us cry out for change. The problem is that that change will have some detail that isn’t being trumpeted and those details are rarely good.

Basically council housing should provide a long term stable foundation where people can look to the future and work towards a better life for them and their family. This policy says don’t bother because as soon as you get there we’ll kick your ass out on the street.

After all council housing is not free there is still a rent to pay, albeit reduced; surely the answer is that the rent should reflect your means.

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"'Very large numbers of people, who in any other part of the country would be regarded as reasonably well off, are not comfortably off in London because of house prices and rents, which are insane' says Frank Dobson MP.

So Frank, what did you personally do about it when you were in power for 13 years? Answer ... Nothing.

Did Frank say that? He is on a massive salary paying a £160 a week. And who was it that said council rents were not subsidised.

Once again, another example of how council housing does not target those in need. It does sometimes, but it is hit and miss. The only solution is to sell all council housing off to the highest bidder. Rich blokes like Frank will then either have to pay up or ship out, which is how it should be. Whilst I have a lot of problems with housing benefit as well, at least it is targeted at those in need, whereas council housing is just corrupt, and Frank D is a case in point.

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This is an unbelievably myopic policy.

In the heyday of council housing getting a council house was seen as a privilege, people were proud of their council homes and, for a time, council estates were huge successes.

From WIKI

The rot set in when the housing criteria changed from priority given to working families and their relatives, who were vetted to ensure they would maintain the rent and uphold the rules, to housing the homeless and 'needy'. As always there is a very fine line between having a social conscience, being a safety net, and being an opt out or a queen size bed, for the feckless. When the housing policy changed the proportion of people with less social responsibility rose to the point where the good tenants started to move out, the rest is history.

We have seen a similar policy enacted through the back door with the provision of low cost and social housing now a requirement for most new private estates. I don't think this is a de facto bad thing so long as the councils don't start taking the piss and housing crackheads on nice estates which would be a huge cop out on their behalf. It will be interesting to see how the modern estates fare; will they go the way of council estates? Especially as folk that have bought start to see the house not as an investment or status symbol but as an albatross about their necks.

Anyway, Frank Dobson has landed on his feet in a £1M council flat and the press are seeing it as an opportunity to trumpet the flaws in the old policy and make us cry out for change. The problem is that that change will have some detail that isn’t being trumpeted and those details are rarely good.

Basically council housing should provide a long term stable foundation where people can look to the future and work towards a better life for them and their family. This policy says don’t bother because as soon as you get there we’ll kick your ass out on the street.

After all council housing is not free there is still a rent to pay, albeit reduced; surely the answer is that the rent should reflect your means.

Exactly, we need a market solution. That means selling off all council houses, and relying on HB until a citizens income is brought in. Then if you are a millionaire and want to live cheaply in squalor, that is your choice. If you live in a mansion and fall on hard times, either your landlord puts up with a lower rent, or you ship out.

The market does these things well. State allocation is always subject to massive corruption, Frank D is just the tip of the iceberg.

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I don't agree with some people having cheaper rents than others. At my last job I had 2 colleagues on similar incomes.

One paid £270 per month for a one bed flat in central London (council of course) the other £1200 for similar in Wimbledon.

How is that fair?

If they were next door to each other or on the same estate I'd agree, but I guess there is an element of desirability here.

There is little doubt that in some areas council housing can be hugely advantageous.

I guess the real point is; how on earth did we get to the point where £1200 is seen as a realistic rent for a 1 bedroom flat?

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That's funny, my job is also in the Bloomsbury area. However, rather than sitting in a dirt cheap council flat or spending 50K a year on a private rental round the corner I participate in this activity called 'commuting'. I live in the suburbs where rent is cheaper and use the train or bus to travel from where I live to where I work every day. I believe that this is what most other people do who's occupation is based in central London. I wonder if I should write to Dobson explaining how this lifestyle option works. FFS!

Having said that the poor old duffer is in his 70s now so moving home after 30 years isn't going to be much fun.

+1

I also work around Bloomsbury and commute in from zone 3. Most of the people who live around Bloomsbury are unemployed e.g. Somali immigrant families. It's insane that we house people without jobs next to workplaces while people with jobs waste 2 hours every day battling their way in and out.

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Did Frank say that? He is on a massive salary paying a £160 a week. And who was it that said council rents were not subsidised.

Once again, another example of how council housing does not target those in need. It does sometimes, but it is hit and miss. The only solution is to sell all council housing off to the highest bidder. Rich blokes like Frank will then either have to pay up or ship out, which is how it should be. Whilst I have a lot of problems with housing benefit as well, at least it is targeted at those in need, whereas council housing is just corrupt, and Frank D is a case in point.

Wrong way to go, council housing is not subsidised and in fact generates an income for the council, it also provides for employment opportunities to maintain these homes.

If there were to be a forced sell off of council houses some would be bought by the occupier but the majority will be bought by investors who will in most cases require funding and want a profit. All this provides is more parasites for your rent to pay for.

Council rent is not that cheap but it does is highlight the effects of 13 years of easy credit on the cost of housing.

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+1

I also work around Bloomsbury and commute in from zone 3. Most of the people who live around Bloomsbury are unemployed e.g. Somali immigrant families. It's insane that we house people without jobs next to workplaces while people with jobs waste 2 hours every day battling their way in and out.

Insane for so many reasons. There is a massive housing crisis in the UK, house prices indicate that. We dont have enough homes for our people, yet we have pretty much open borders, and policies that house 'the poorest'. That means if you get here from a poor country, you go to the front of the housing queue.

The duty of the government is to represent its own people and control the borders. It seems to be doing the opposite.

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Wrong way to go, council housing is not subsidised and in fact generates an income for the council, it also provides for employment opportunities to maintain these homes.

If there were to be a forced sell off of council houses some would be bought by the occupier but the majority will be bought by investors who will in most cases require funding and want a profit. All this provides is more parasites for your rent to pay for.

Council rent is not that cheap but it does is highlight the effects of 13 years of easy credit on the cost of housing.

Not subsidised?

Remember, a subsidy is the difference between the market price and the paid price. Frank Dobson is paying £160 a week rent on a million pound flat. Is that the market rate?

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I live with my girlfriend in a one bed housing association flat, rent £80 per week possibly subsidised by about a tenner a week on private sector rents. We are talking Nottingham here. Slightly on my conscience that we could actually afford to buy several houses cash but as an uber-Bear have currently battened down the hatches during this housing crash. I don't think I could justify renting at £160 when it should be £1,000 if I was a millionaire like Dobson. I have my snout in the trough a little (it was my girlfriend's place before I moved in it there is any justification, which there probably isn't with penniless people on the housing waiting list) .

The trouble with the likes of Dobson is they have no shame, he probably justifys his forthcoming 7 figure pension pot which the unborn will have to pay for too. I wonder if he realises how much labour (not his own) will pay for his golden lifestyle. Probably the working lives of several people.

Edited by crashmonitor

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I don't agree with some people having cheaper rents than others. At my last job I had 2 colleagues on similar incomes.

One paid £270 per month for a one bed flat in central London (council of course) the other £1200 for similar in Wimbledon.

How is that fair?

Child

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Basically council housing should provide a long term stable foundation where people can look to the future and work towards a better life for them and their family. This policy says don’t bother because as soon as you get there we’ll kick your ass out on the street.

After all council housing is not free there is still a rent to pay, albeit reduced; surely the answer is that the rent should reflect your means.

The rent reflects the cost of provision. As council housing is not subsidised, why should any tenant be penalised for doing better in life.

Council / co-operative housing should be expanded until no-one wants it because the private sector options are so much better value for money.

Edited by Laughing Gnome

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I don't think I could justify renting at £160 when it should be £1,000 if I was a millionaire like Dobson.

Is he a millionaire? I think Dobson's point that prices and rent are insane is right. He and his mates may well have caused the issue, but I don't think council rents should match private rents nor do I believe that people with incomes over a certain threshold be thrown out of their homes, especially if they have lived there for 30 or 40 years. High incomes can be temporary.

If there was more council provision for homes, then this would drive private rents down and in turn house prices. There are less homes built now than 50 years ago, yet the population has grown by about 10 million and when you factor in more people living on their own, the lack of government funded development has caused the problem.

Sadly while the sun shone, no one fixed the roof they just slapped on the Ambre Solaire.

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Council / co-operative housing should be expanded until no-one wants it because the private sector options are so much better value for money.

+1

It should have been. I doubt any government will be able to afford a house building programme for a generation.

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+1

It should have been. I doubt any government will be able to afford a house building programme for a generation.

What better use for QE?

Povide jobs whilst saving a fortune in housing benefit. It might destroy a few Govt owned banks though.

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