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fru-gal

I Don’T Want To Be London Mayor, But Who Else Will Do What Needs To Be Done?

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Good article imo.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/15/london-mayor-housing-communities-city

Lindsey-Garrett-delivers--003.jpg
Lindsey Garrett delivers a speech opposite Downing Street as part of the campaign over the New Era estate. Photograph: Frantzesco Kangaris for The Guardian

To tell you the truth, the last thing I want is to become London mayor.

My neighbours and I on the New Era estate in east London went through months of hell, because our landlord wanted to do something entirely legal to us: evict us from our homes and make as much money as they could from other people. We got sympathy from the public, the mayor of London, our council and even from government ministers. But no one proposed laws that would have protected us.

We are lucky. Because of the publicity our campaign raised, with the support of Russell Brand, we were able to embarrass our landlord into selling up to a trust with a different attitude. But so many Londoners don’t have that luck. People are facing rent hikes or keeping quiet about maintenance problems in case it leads to a rent increase. And every time a renter moves, they are forced into more cramped and degrading conditions.

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Lindsey Garrett and her daughter Dolly (middle) at the New Era estate along with Lynsay Spiteri and her daughter Lois and Danielle Molinari (far left). Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

One-third of Britain’s 11 million renters move each year. We’re creating a generation of people without roots in communities. A generation of children moving from school to school because their parents didn’t inherit a deposit for a mortgage. And the capital is where it is at its worst. London is where we have the most grasping agents, the craziest rents and a culture where tenants are treated as rent slaves.

Britain has a collective lunacy around land and the magical way it increases in value without you having to do any work. It is such an addiction that otherwise sensible politicians start gabbling nonsense rather than accept the clear logic that it’s unsustainable for increases in property prices to continually outstrip increases in wages. Eventually people can’t afford to live on the land.

London is dying in front of us. Culturally it’s hollowing out and leisure entertainment is getting more and more expensive. Londoners have less money while their pursuits and pastimes cost more. So people start making decisions to leave London, to get a less well-paid job outside of the rat race. And that means it costs more for employers to convince talented people to stay here. One day some of those employers will decide it’s not worth the cost and they’ll go to another global city in another country and we’ll be a poorer city because of it.

In London we have the most grasping agents, the craziest rents and a culture where tenants are treated as rent slaves

I’ve worked with the people at Something New to come up with a picture of the London I want to live in. It’s a London where people aren’t ground down by overpriced rents and mortgages; or living in fear of their landlord; and where thecultural life of the city is affordable for everyone. It’s a city where the economy thrives because it has thrown off the dead weight of the housing bubble, creating more jobs. An economy that grows in wealth shared by everyone while reducing its environmental impact.

But it’s also a city run by its people, not by an elite dominated by the financial sector. Yes, we need an independent London on the same terms as Scotland, and we need electoral reform so councils aren’t taken for granted by political parties; and votes at 16 because this is a young city and we all deserve a say in how it is run. And there is no justification for the privileged position of the Corporation of London in a modern democracy, particularly when they have been complicit in bringing our economy to the edge of catastrophe.

I have come up with an agenda that should be acceptable to any party. It’s not a revolutionary socialist agenda but a plan for a city that is humane to its people. I’m not hungry for power, I’m hungry for change. I will vote for whoever will build me the city that I want my daughter to grow up in – and if no one else will build it then it will have to be me.

Edited by fru-gal

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Heart is in the right place, but then I look up what the agenda alluded to is. Rent control and more taxation. Oh dear.

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Heart is in the right place, but then I look up what the agenda alluded to is. Rent control and more taxation. Oh dear.

Have you a link to her agenda, I was merely commenting on her passionate speech. Could well be a case of, good at highlighting the problems. Solutions, not so good!

Although, greater protection for tenants and the elimination of letting agent fees would be a good start.

Edited by renting til I die

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Heart is in the right place, but then I look up what the agenda alluded to is. Rent control and more taxation. Oh dear.

There are only two options for tenants:

Rent controls and better tenants' rights

OR

The free market - whereby subsidies for banks and landlords are removed, and planning is relaxed.

NO ONE is offering the latter.

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The rich don't want the poor in London, they would like to bus the workers in by the day and ship them out during the night.

The rich don't even live in London. They just buy up all the property and leave it empty. Still, poor people nearby are probably not good for asset appreciation in K&C.

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The rich don't want the poor in London, they would like to bus the workers in by the day and ship them out during the night.

Not sure they really care.

They want the housing benefit. They want workers subsidized by the state. Nothing else really matters to them.

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If you hate the humankind, then yes.. I know sounds almost too harsh and I appreciate your concern and what it probably stands for - a genuine care to rectify certain things gone wrong. But the hatred to market place will only achieve the opposite. The things or props crippling the market have to be dealt with rather than enterprising (as funny as it might sound - i know) people trying to benefit from distortions. You can dislike what speculators or BTLers or landlords doing, but the urge to get more controls into the place will only make the matters worse and is exactly what statist mainstream politicos are looking fwd to. When (rather than if) the inevitable happens and all these landlords will hold the bucket, you will surely feel no urge (and rightly so on this occasion) to ask for interventions? Hence, the advise from so many ppl on this forum - don't beg for new regulations and controls, i.e. more economic fascism; remove the ones that created the mess in the first place. Simples.

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There are only two options for tenants:

Rent controls and better tenants' rights

OR

The free market - whereby subsidies for banks and landlords are removed, and planning is relaxed.

NO ONE is offering the latter.

Well, better tenants rights is a separate issue really, I would like to see a free market plus tenants rights, I don't think they are mutually exclusive.

Rent controls though are at best a temporary solution I think. The economics profession doesn't agree on much but on rent controls, or price controls in general, it does agree.

And a more left wing solution than a free market could be land value tax, that has the merit of having sound economics and some empirical evidence backing it up, unlike rent control. Rent control seems to be the unthinking policy option.

Edited by EUBanana

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If you hate the humankind, then yes.. I know sounds almost too harsh and I appreciate your concern and what it probably stands for - a genuine care to rectify certain things gone wrong. But the hatred to market place will only achieve the opposite. The things or props crippling the market have to be dealt with rather than enterprising (as funny as it might sound - i know) people trying to benefit from distortions. You can dislike what speculators or BTLers or landlords doing, but the urge to get more controls into the place will only make the matters worse and is exactly what statist mainstream politicos are looking fwd to. When (rather than if) the inevitable happens and all these landlords will hold the bucket, you will surely feel no urge (and rightly so on this occasion) to ask for interventions? Hence, the advise from so many ppl on this forum - don't beg for new regulations and controls, i.e. more economic fascism; remove the ones that created the mess in the first place. Simples.

Exactly, that's why I'm in despair when I see more meddling as a 'solution'. These people really need to think it through and consider the alternatives.

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The right-wing market cheerleaders have proved that they won't implement a free market in housing.

An absolutely free market in housing would mean scrapping all planning laws, scrapping all building standards, removing state support for banks, abolishing the Bank of England as lender of last resort, and getting rid of both bank reserve requirements and controls on mortgage affordability.

Not one stick of that is going to happen, and if it did I'm not sure we wouldn't just end up even more enslaved to the money-lenders.

So if the market is going to be rigged, it should be rigged in order to benefit the many rather than the few.

I'm not sure it even makes sense to talk about a 'free market' in a resource that you can't manufacture, you can't discover more of, and yet everyone needs. The correct economic model for such things might be more akin to rationing.

Surely markets are only useful when they make our lives better?

Edited by irrationalactor

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Well, better tenants rights is a separate issue really, I would like to see a free market plus tenants rights, I don't think they are mutually exclusive.

Rent controls though are at best a temporary solution I think. The economics profession doesn't agree on much but on rent controls, or price controls in general, it does agree.

And a more left wing solution than a free market could be land value tax, that has the merit of having sound economics and some empirical evidence backing it up, unlike rent control. Rent control seems to be the unthinking policy option.

I do completely agree with you btw.

The problem is the speed at which any of the sensible options can happen. We've had 15-20 years of growing housing crisis - it's at nose-bleed levels now particularly in London where even well-paid professional people can't afford to live in reasonable or secure accommodation. We need change now, not slowly over the next 15 years.

I'm absolutely against rent controls in principle, but I'd be tempted to vote for someone who would introduce them, and if the BTL brigade find they can't continue to make their "investment" work under the new controls, well, I'm ready with my deposit to turn that non-productive asset back into a decent family home. I don't think the economy would be in a worse shape for it in the short term.

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Why should London be affordable for people who don't work there? People do fair enough - and I would love to see that happen again.

Edited by iamnumerate

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Remove the props; remove the tax advantages of BTL; remove the agents' fees; create a register of LLs and enforce existing laws to ensure LLs and tenants comply. That would do it.

No more grotty places where LLs take the p*** and put up the rent or evict if you complain or report a problem and no more tenants not keeping the place in a reasonanble condition.

Probably never going to happen!

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The right-wing market cheerleaders have proved that they won't implement a free market in housing.

An absolutely free market in housing would mean scrapping all planning laws, scrapping all building standards, removing state support for banks, abolishing the Bank of England as lender of last resort, and getting rid of both bank reserve requirements and controls on mortgage affordability.

Not one stick of that is going to happen, and if it did I'm not sure we wouldn't just end up even more enslaved to the money-lenders.

So if the market is going to be rigged, it should be rigged in order to benefit the many rather than the few.

I'm not sure it even makes sense to talk about a 'free market' in a resource that you can't manufacture, you can't discover more of, and yet everyone needs. The correct economic model for such things might be more akin to rationing.

Surely markets are only useful when they make our lives better?

this is one very inconsistent post - what free marketers? The problem sheople won't see and fall prey to is belief that there is any free marketer on the political scene. They are all Marxists of some sorts - there are only marginal differences in the actual policies. You could say one side is more genuine and the other - more crony, i.e. don't give a sh1t about status quo and look only to divest ppl's attention from true problems by some market talk whereas in parallel they robbing the tax payers during broad daylight. And surely the current regulations are "on" not because of an accident but because of the same interests cited above? So u expect the same establishment introduce additional rigging that undoes things they had rigged in the first place.. only a disoriented person would do it for the sake of an incredible cacophony/utopia.

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If the people who claim to believe in a free market won't deliver it, then no-one will.

Actually the market will deliver in the end, it's that it will impoverish more "innocent" people along the longer way than required or needed. "Innocent" - quotes because ignorance/indifference of economic/political realities is really no justification.

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An absolutely free market in housing would mean scrapping all planning laws, scrapping all building standards, removing state support for banks, abolishing the Bank of England as lender of last resort, and getting rid of both bank reserve requirements and controls on mortgage affordability.

Not true at all. Building standards? Not if they are for things like safety - this is pretty much deflection. Having food safety laws in no way means you can't have a free market in food. As to the Bankrupt of England, you can have a free market in land and not have a free banking, so that's deflection too. Granted, the benefits of a free market would be greater if you did.

This is the equivalent of saying that an LVT wouldn't be of help unless ALL taxation was derived from LVT (which was actually the solution proposed by many), but that isn't the case, even a minor one could be of some benefit.

Obviously if your definition of something is as ridiculously rigid as this it'll never be achievable. Personally I'd just be happy with repealing laws back to pre-1947, which would help hugely.

As for the rationing bit, that's what markets are for. Matching supply and demand of a scarce good. If a good isn't scarce there's no reason to have a market for it.

Edited by EUBanana

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While I agree the props should be stripped away, I think it's a little naive to believe the free market will mean decent accommodation for all.

Not if people are flat broke, no. However what we have at the moment is a market being extremely aggressively manipulated, and the end result of that manipulation is to rook people out of their lifetime income. Removing that manipulation is a pretty damn good start.

I'm personally completely open to the idea of things like LVT as well, however I dont' think an LVT and a free market in land is at all incompatible.

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