Monday , November 23 2020
Home / Tim Worstall /It’s rare to see things so explicitly stated

It’s rare to see things so explicitly stated

Summary:
Owen Hatherley tells us of that exciting future when there’s more council and social housing:We have long known what to do about a crisis of housing affordability: have local authorities build housing at social rents. The pandemic hit at a time when council housing had started to have a modest revival, including in Bristol, where several councillors are members of Acorn renters union. It’s possible that a mixture of council housing programmes, co-operatives and councillor support for tenants’ organisations could presage a future for the Labour left among those who rent their homes.That seems odd - why would people vote left to gain stuff if they’re already gaining the stuff to be gained by voting left? The answer:Whether you own or rent your home is a surer indication of voting preferences

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Owen Hatherley tells us of that exciting future when there’s more council and social housing:

We have long known what to do about a crisis of housing affordability: have local authorities build housing at social rents. The pandemic hit at a time when council housing had started to have a modest revival, including in Bristol, where several councillors are members of Acorn renters union. It’s possible that a mixture of council housing programmes, co-operatives and councillor support for tenants’ organisations could presage a future for the Labour left among those who rent their homes.

That seems odd - why would people vote left to gain stuff if they’re already gaining the stuff to be gained by voting left? The answer:

Whether you own or rent your home is a surer indication of voting preferences than your age: a tenant in their 60s is no more likely to vote Conservative than one in their 30s.

We tend to think this is a bad idea. Designing the housing system of the country around who gets to be an MP as a result doesn’t meet our own desire for said housing system.

Which is that people gain the housing they desire and thus housing becomes an entirely non-political issue. This does apply to tilting the system one way through ownership and the other through rental tenancies. This also means solving that affordability problem and we’ve pointed out how to do that often enough. Issue enough planning permissions that a planning permission has no value. A house will therefore approach in value the marginal cost of production - something like £100,000 to £120,000 for a nice little three bedder on a reasonable garden plot. For that is the land and construction cost when shorn of the price of the artificial scarcity of that permission to build a house.

This rather highlighting one of the difficulties with politics as a manner of dealing with matters. If problems actually get solved then there’s no ability to use the existence of the problem as a route to gaining political power. Which is, we aver, why so many solvable problems don’t get solved by the political process.

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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