Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Won’t somebody think of the children!

This government is rapidly demolishing the housing industry

Eric Pickles MP has scrapped regional house-building targets. Result? Hundreds of house-building projects delayed or scrapped, with tens of thousands of planned homes shelved. The consequences for construction workers, 4.5 million people on town hall waiting lists for social housing, and young couples anxious to get on the housing ladder, don't bear thinking about.

Posted by drewster @ 03:08 PM (2752 views)
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40 thoughts on “Won’t somebody think of the children!

  • self built homes are far better than redrow/barratt rabbit hutches, they should encourage self builders.

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  • “Planning has been good for Britain”

    No it hasn’t.

    The Stalinist top down planning structure, which has existed since Atlee’s post-war government; has consistently failed to either listen to local concerns or make sufficient housing provision.

    Across the country, local communities have been scared to welcome development, for fear of being seen as a soft touch, and loaded with new sink estates.

    Under the last government, the unelected regional assemblies were even more alienated from the populace, and rafts of bureaucracy ensured that the ‘eco towns’ and other silly ideas, such as ‘Pathfinder’ were getting nowhere..

    Eric Pickles is right to call time on the old structure; but he must also waste no time in getting a new system up and running..

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  • Mark..

    ..totally agree.

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  • ‘Won’t somebody think of the children’

    They did; they thought of all the rents they will collect from them.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    UT, to be fair, what’s better a “Stalinist top down structure” that ensures that at least something gets built, or an equally “Stalinist NIMBY top down structure” that ensures absolutely nothing gets built at all, ever?

    Fatso was quick off the mark with scrapping the old system and he has already replaced it with a new one – the NIMBY majority in every area rules!!

    PS If I’m wrong about this, then I’ll be glad to be wrong.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    … and anybody who lives in a house built pre WW2 who opposes new development is a RAGING hyprocrite – of course old houses are nicer, on the whole, that is because back in the day WE DIDN’T HAVE all these restrictions. Get rid of the quantitiative restrictions and the quality will improve all by itself.

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  • mark wadsworth – “Fatso” (LOL) – you have just brightened up my day !

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  • quiet guy,

    You made me laugh. Then cry. It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious!

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  • MW,

    The old system constantly fuelled NIMBY sentiment. It wasn’t safe to say yes, so everyone said no.

    If you encourage communities to welcome new development, while giving them the power to refuse; the results might surprise..

    ..however, as old habits die hard, I suspect the govt will need to use fairly large carrots and sticks to get sufficient momentum.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    Uncle Tome – How about the LVT carrot/stick? If there are more people living there, the council has more dosh to spend on good stuff (and in relative terms, you’d pay less); if you are a die hard NIMBY who wants to keep prices up, then you get clobbered with higher LVT?

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  • LVT, as if thats going to fly!

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  • MW,

    LVT crosses a line that no politician dare tread – the wealth tax – the outright theft, by the state, of a citizen’s property.

    It isn’t a good idea, it isn’t going to happen – you know that – so do please shut up about it..

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  • letsgetreadytotumble says:

    ‘self built homes are far better than redrow/barratt rabbit hutches, they should encourage self builders.’

    Spot on. How come the big builders are allowed to buy land and hold us to ransom, yet an individual has next to no chance.

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  • Which is why I propose the public lease. Publically owned land has leases proposed for strict purposes, finite periods, with mining volumes and planning built in – and the permissions lapse with the lease.

    Now the decision of whether and which leases are granted and who gets paid.

    A pot is created with two halves. One half full of payments in favour of granting the lease, the other against.

    It’s a free for all, put money in as you wish. when the time comes to make the decision, the larger pot wins. Then the money in the losing pot is returned to those who paid it along with the same again out of the winning pot.

    In essence anybody who thinks they will benefit or lose out from the granting of the lease puts a price of their own choosing on their benefit or losing. The decision is then purely based on causing the most amicable resolution on what to do with some land for a certain period – the most desired choice for each lease based on the level of commitment of those who care is always made. Anybody who loses out on one lease gets money to use to get the next lease go their way because all those who are harmed or who miss out on beneficial opportunities are compensated precisely for the loss that they themselves calculated.

    This can only work if the lease is totally open to all those living in all areas as a decision to build a noisy runway in heathrow benefits those near other airports because it won’t be built near them so they must be allowed to pay to grant the lease.

    This can be used even for projects like maintenance of quaint town centre garden features as the feature will be maintained as long as enough people will pay for the lease to beat the lessee’s bid against (by which method the lessee can be publically funded to provide a public service for a certain period – obviating the need for much of the council tax – though not all).

    This provides the benefits of the LVT of controlling land values, preventing private taxation by land owners and making all land-related taxation a public right via free trade of rights by the people. Capitalist systems for socialist ideals. the best of both.

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  • Well you all know what I think about self build – but for those that don’t, I think there should be a selection of plots in every town and village for self builders and small developers.

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  • Maihem,

    I regret that your notions are too high in the clouds for mere mortals to comprehend..!

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  • Mark Wadsworth says:

    UT, may I paraphrase:

    “Income tax crosses a line that no politician dare tread – the wealth creation tax – the outright theft, by the state, of a citizen’s hard work, skills and efforts.

    It isn’t a good idea, it isn’t going to happen – you know that – so do please shut up about it.”

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    UT 12, may I paraphrase:

    “Income tax crosses a line that no politician dare tread – the wealth creation tax – the outright theft, by the state, of a citizen’s hard work, skills and efforts.

    It isn’t a good idea, it isn’t going to happen – you know that – so do please shut up about it.”

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  • MW,

    Income tax, a tax on production, goes back to the dawn of time – the biblical tithe.

    LVT has a biblical stumbling block in the form of the eighth commandment, and also appears to be at odds with the Magna Carta..

    ..so forget it – it ain’t gonna happen!

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  • For the love of God can the administrator post something I write!

    MW,

    Don’t give up on LVT, you are on the right track. Apparently Uncle Tom knows a lot, but he is limited by personal dogma.

    The key is to reward the citizens who make productive use of the Nations (our) assets. The way Uncle Tom bangs on about wealth tax. Well, he just sounds like some Thatcherite buffoon from the eighties with a brain dead free market mantra.

    Productive work and entrepreneurship mark the true wealth of a society. In the distant past some surplus productive work has been converted to land ownership. (Although most land was simply stolen). The land ownership right returns several times the original value of the productive work. There should be no sour grapes if a land monopoly privilege is revoked. We don’t tolerate abuse of monopoly rights like wireless access. Land is no different. Land “wealth” can simply be created with the sweep of a planners pen.

    Agreed it’s a huge political challenge but not impossible in the longer term. Uncle Tom demonstrates nicely the opposition from the dogma ridden know all’s that infest the country.

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  • For the love of God can the administrator post something I write!

    MW,

    Don’t give up on LVT, you are on the right track. Apparently Uncle Tom knows a lot, but he is limited by personal dogma.

    The key is to reward the citizens who make productive use of the Nations (our) assets. The way Uncle Tom bangs on about wealth tax. Well, he just sounds like some Thatcherite buffoon from the eighties with a brain dead free market mantra.

    Productive work and entrepreneurship mark the true wealth of a society. In the distant past some surplus productive work has been converted to land ownership. (Although most land was simply stolen). The land ownership right returns several times the original value of the productive work. There should be no sour grapes if a land monopoly privilege is revoked. We don’t tolerate abuse of monopoly rights like wireless access. Land is no different. Land “wealth” can simply be created with the sweep of a planners pen.

    Agreed it’s a huge political challenge but not impossible in the longer term. Uncle Tom demonstrates nicely the opposition from the dogma ridden know all’s that infest the country.

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  • I also do not believe LVT will become part of the tax system, but taxes on wealth are not state theft at all. On the contrary, they redress what is in effect the “theft” of wealth by individuals from the nation. On the land theme, take a look at who owns the majority of the land in this country. It is still predominantly inherited by a small number of individuals – the aristocracy. They certainly didn’t acquire that through “wealth creation”. William I dished it out to their ancestors; it was acquired through force. Revolution anyone?

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  • “LVT, as if thats going to fly!”

    Well, Iain Duncan-Smith is trying to get in place a watered-down Citizens Income scheme. Maybe there’s hope for a watered down LVT. Maybe if it’s proposed as an additional tax, without taking any other taxes away 🙁

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  • Letthemfall,

    You are touching on one of the great biblical contradictions – are children to be punished for the sins of their fathers?

    However, in the modern world, most people take the view that it’s not a nice thing to do.

    The socialist solution to land issues, though attractive in theory, has been tried many times, and has always failed.

    Never forget that in the 20th century, more people starved to death as a consequence of socialist land reforms, than died in all the wars put together.

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  • 2. uncle tom said…

    “Eric Pickles is right to call time on the old structure; but he must also waste no time in getting a new system up and running..”

    ..what like – right to buy? – or maybe just a NIMBY driven system where the poor live in Ghetto’s and the wealthy live in country manors surrounded by acres of land they don’t need.

    Pickles will follow the line of self interest – it’s what his party does best. What he doesn’t realise (because he’s a snide, but not clever guy) is that this will cause social fractures and result in civil war. People have had it too good for too long, they’re not about to give it up now…

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  • 28. uncle tom said…

    “The socialist solution to land issues, though attractive in theory, has been tried many times, and has always failed.”

    …and the Capitalist one? – working out nicely is it? Why are there over a million empty properties and 500,000 homeless then?

    “Never forget that in the 20th century, more people starved to death as a consequence of socialist land reforms, than died in all the wars put together.”

    Firstly – where did you get this ‘fact’ – and secondly, even if you can provide a source, it’s miniscule compared to the numbers who have died of starvation as a result of the free market / Capitalist land distribution. The only reason you might have numbers for the socialist reforms is because they happened instantly and could be attributed to the reform. With capitalism the destruction is spread wider and more thinly so a lot of the deaths cannot be attributed.

    Our priority as a race should be to house everyone, not engineer a system which means some can profit from others lack of resources.

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  • 5. mark wadsworth said…

    “Fatso was quick off the mark with scrapping the old system and he has already replaced it with a new one – the NIMBY majority in every area rules!!”

    Majority? – what do you think this is a Democracy? I’m afraid the NIMBY rules state that those who don’t work (as they are ‘wealth extractors’ living off the true workers) and who are free to campaign and lobby all day get the decision. Those of us busy working will return home (if we have one) to discover that our planning permission to build an extension for our expected child has been turned down as it might slightly impact the view of Lord Ponsellbury out of one of his 300 windows.

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  • @UT – “in the 20th century, more people starved to death as a consequence of socialist land reforms, than died in all the wars put together.”

    That’s an interesting statement. Do you have the stats to back it up?

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  • orcus,

    The exact stats are hard to compute, as neither Russia nor China has ever admitted the full scale of the horrors they inflicted on their own people, and many casualties of famine have been counted as casualties of war.

    I think it was Jacob Bronowski who arrived at the bottom line conclusion – and he was a much smarter guy than me!

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    @ UT, Orcus & others – the “socialist land experiments” also give us a clear guide as to what not to do, and hence the way forward!!!

    1. The state should not take control of means of productions (whether through ownership or, in a Western European context, through regulation or INCOME TAX).

    2. The collective farms failed because they were badly run and no incentive to individuals working on them to increase production.

    3. What Russia & China did, in limited fashion, was rent off small holdings to individuals, who were allowed to sell their crops. Surprise, surprise, these small holdings were infinitely more productive than the collective farms.

    4. What the quasi-socialist EU does is dish out subsidies simply for owning land, these do not increase food production one iota (if anything they push it down), they merely reward land ownership and push up rents and prices.

    5. There is no economic difference between a small holder renting a field from the state or paying land tax (which would be consdierably less than £50 per acre per annum for UK farmland) in exchange for the state guaranteeing exclusive possession.

    6. From the point of view of somebody who wants to go into farming, he will be a lot mroe motivated to do it properly if he just pays £50/acre per year LVT and has no income tax on his profits then if he has to borrow a lot of money from the bank to pay mortgage interest of rather more than £50/acre AND has to pay INCOME TAX on top of that.

    The same logic applies to commercial buildings and housing by analogy.

    Taffy, LTF, thanks for moral support!

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  • At £50/acre, you will need to get the empire back, if it’s going to cover the income tax receipts..

    You’ll only cover about 2% of income tax revenue from the UK’s land..

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  • ” – of course old houses are nicer, on the whole, that is because back in the day WE DIDN’T HAVE all these restrictions”

    Mark Wadsworth

    We only had a limited planning system, yes (although the first town and country planning act happened in 1910). But we also had a system of “by-laws” which ensured that houses and rooms were of a minimum size.

    By the late Victorian period local “boards” in London and Birmingham as well as elsewhere were licenced to demolish houses built in inappropriate places.

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  • @ut

    I’ve googled and not found any relevant articles.

    According to Wikipedia, the Soviet Union lost 14% of it’s population in WWII alone. To assert that they had over 23 million famine casualties during peacetime and managed to cover it up does stretch credibility somewhat. I agree that communist principles are less efficient than free market, but there’s no need to exagerate!

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    Uncle Tom, you are good at maths so I am surprised you asked that question.

    The rental value of UK farmland is between £50 and £100 per acre, so the tax can’t possibly be more than that. It’s pennies either way, and Adam Smith argued that while LVT on developed land was a very good idea, taxing farmland maybe wasn’t.

    The rental value of UK residential and commercial land is hundreds or thousands of times as much as the rental value of farm land. That’s where the value is!

    As a rough guide, to replace all taxes (income, VAT, corp, National Insurance, the lot) would require a tax of about 7% or 8% on total land and property values, or about 15% – 20% on land only capital values. It’s a circular calculation but this a a LVT of about 80% assuming all other taxes scrapped.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    should say: “80% on annual site only rental values” (which is a rather artificial concept).

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  • Orcus,

    IIRC, I think the Russians actually admit to 10 million, so 23 million doesn’t sound far fetched…

    MW – enjoy your fantasy tax planning – I’m now off to Covent Garden..

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  • uncle tom
    That’s a pretty discursive response. This is not a question of sin and punishment. You defend keeping the fruits of wealth creation, even though this is not about wealth creation either; but you are also defending the fruits of historical injustice, even though it is hardly in the interests of a modern state.

    Anyway, we are not talking about a land grab but taxing an unearned resource. Nor are we talking about socialism, which you appear to confuse with totalitarianism. What you are saying is that the wealthy should always keep the lot, however acquired, irrespective of the economic and social damage it inflicts.

    It leaves me wondering whether you are an arch fatalist, or the owner of a country estate.

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  • LTF,

    I like to think of myself as a realist.

    I am richer than most in this country; indeed my brother and I; from very modest beginnings, and without any collusion, following career paths that could hardly have differed more; have both found our way into the wealthiest 1% of the nation.

    My brother, at 55, is still a workaholic city lawyer, with quite socialist leanings (of the champagne sort..) He does nothing his wife would not approve of, and seems quite happy with that – to my frequent irritation..!

    Five years his junior, I am a lazy and boozy entrepreneur who couldn’t be bothered to go to Uni, yet has been the successful managing director of five companies. I pride myself in never having used a business plan that involved any deceit of the public.

    To cut to the chase; I have no time for whinging parasites who won’t make the effort to better themselves; but want every kid to have the chance to trump my aces…

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  • So sorry but I find you fascinating Uncle Tom. I just can’t resist.

    True colors kind of come out when you mention “whingeing parasites”, shows a real lack of respect.

    Unlike you, proponents of LVT genuinely want people to have a fair crack of the whip and they do want people to be rewarded for productive work and entrepreneurship. Don’t foolishly associate genuine items of good policy with semi-related aspects of failed ideology. Maybe as you say yourself, you are “too lazy” to make the effort and understand the bigger picture.

    Please don’t insult peoples intelligence with petty topic changes, however crisp and smart the delivery.

    As for your realist stance. Try to understand you are confusing the destination with the Road map. Don’t discuss the road map when destination is the issue. Visa Versa.

    I’m sort of puzzled how you came to be a managing director.

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  • The entire business world requires the end customer to be ignorant of the cost of goods sold and ignorant of the profit margin.

    How can that NOT be deceit of the public.

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