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What is wrong with council houses?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by moscowbore, Sep 19, 2018.

  1. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter


    In a country where the average house is 8 times average earnings


    most normal working families cannot afford to buy houses.

    Families need housing. In the old days council housing provided housing for those who could not afford or did not want to buy a house. Councils built lots of council houses, supply of housing was constant and the housing market took care of itself.

    Thatcher turned everybody into a property speculator when she sold of council houses to their occupiers for a song. Councils stopped building council houses for a number of reasons. Demand for housing rose as the population rose but the supply of housing dried to a trickle. Property speculators made, and continue to make, a fortune.

    I am not sure that 'social housing' is the same as council houses. The definition of social housing seems to be any house costing below £200K. Still too expensive for an average working couple to get a mortgage for. Possible only with a large deposit from relatives.

    Slimy minister on tv patting the government on the back for building houses that poor people can live in. He was careful to avoid giving actual figures on how much the homes would sell for. This was an interview on BBC Breakfast so not really an interview. The vast majority of the houses to be built were not "social" housing. He had to admit that.

    Why not spend the whole £2BN on houses which people can afford to rent or buy. Base "affordability" on two average incomes per household?
    The answer, property speculators.
  2. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    we need rent controls
    Bring down private rents, half them.
    landlords that don't want to continue if the rents are too low for them can sell up

    Maybe to the council
  3. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    My parents moved to a council estate in Slough, in 1965. It was great! It had amenities that our previous, rented house I Southall did not have. As @moscowbore said, my parents exercised their 'right to buy', given them by Thatcher, so they got hold of a three-bedroom house at a fraction of its market value. Goodness knows what it would fetch now: way beyond the means of the struggling couples for whom it was originally intended.
  4. FarSideofParadise

    FarSideofParadise Occasional commenter

    Private renting has gotten ridiculous,I moved out of a 2 bed flat because the landlord upped the rent to £800!
  5. CeciledeVolanges

    CeciledeVolanges New commenter

    That would make rents more affordable but it would not create any more housing capacity. If anything it would create a greater demand.
    The only way to get more capacity is to build more homes. We had an equilibrium once but the recent rapid population growth and more people living it side the traditional family set up put demand ahead of supply.
  6. nizebaby

    nizebaby Star commenter

    Thatcher remarked that anyone above the age of thirty who used buses was a failure. That contempt was presumably extended towards people who lived in council houses.
    slingshotsally and InkyP like this.
  7. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

  8. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    In 1970 the value of a property was 15.97 times my parents household income, they rented rooms in shared houses and we have not come a great deal onward from that, although to be fair it makes 8 times the average income look a tad more achievable... it's all relative isn't it?

    Edit - in the 1990's I recall the term "studio' was developed to replace "bedsit" and housing was unaffordable to many then, although the Key worker scheme and shared ownership was developed *under Blair I believe... which helped some obtain a home near work.

    Thus this is not new news or a new situation, just as it always has been and no subsequent Government has been able to change it much.
  9. lapinrose

    lapinrose Star commenter

    There are quotas set for Social and Affordable housing to be built by a developer if the development is more than a certain number of houses, sorry I don't have the exact figures to hand but will look for them.
    However many developers are wriggling out of this condition by various means. In our town we need more Social and Affordable housing, but land prices are high here.
    neddyfonk likes this.
  10. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    Many thanks nomad. Much appreciated.

    I had a quick scan. Could not find a definition of "social housing". Several mentions of housing being available at 20% below market rate. Even 20% below market rate would still make buying an average house not affordable for a two average income household.
    This is the crux of my point. Too many people make too much money from making million pound houses which get scooped up by investors.
    neddyfonk and monicabilongame like this.
  11. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Then regulations on who buys social housing should be in place if they aren't already... there used to be and housing associations were not able to sell rented homes unless they were shared ownership.

    The difference is I guess that the nation has consistently voted for market forces to rule with rolling back the state as an accompanying option... democracy eh? Stinks sometimes... but what is the alternative?
  12. AnotherDayTowardsRetirement

    AnotherDayTowardsRetirement Occasional commenter

    I’ve heard people idolise Thatcher as’our grestest ever PM’. As a Welsh Valleys teenager of the 80s I have mixed opinion of her.

    ‘Thatcherite’ market forces decimated our local coal industry causing my father, my two uncles and one of my grandfathers out of a job. Strike action caused my family severe financial distress at the time and the local community is still divided and fractured today. When my family did return to work their wages never replaced the debts built up during the strike and we lived ‘hand to mouth’ for most of my teen years.

    ‘Thatcherite’ policies eventually closed the mines and my father and uncles took redundancy. My grandfather retired to a decent pension but a lifetime of coal dust in his lungs claimed his life before he had time to enjoy his retirement. My father’s redundancy payment enabled my family to take advantage of Thatcher’s ‘right to buy’ and our council house became ours. Three years later the house sold for four times what we paid for it and some of the cash supported my sister & myself through university “go to university, become anyone anywhere but don’t work down those god foresaken mines” and later provided a lump sum deposits towards buying our own first houses.

    ‘Thatcherite’ market forces has enabled me to take advantage of The disequilibrium between house supply and demand by selling a series of houses at a profit, gradually buying bigger houses as my own family grew and freeing up equity to spend on the nicer things in life.

    ‘Thatcherite’ market forces now allows me to sell my house at a huge profit, downsize with no mortgage and a sizeable sum to top up my pension.

    Some of my parents generation who stayed in our village partied the night away in the High Street on news of Thatcher’s death. “Good Riddence”. “Burn The Witch”. Others, who like my parents took didn’t let advisory beat them and took advantage of the situation of the times, will raise a glass to Thatcher in our homes far and wide scattered in all corners of the world as a catalyst for shaping our good fortune lives. As I said, I’ve got mixed opinion of Thatcher and her policies .....!
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
  13. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    As I have stated here before, I assumed that when folks bought their council houses, the money would be spent replacing the housing stock. It wasn't. I thought the next Labour Government would change this. They didn't. Why?
  14. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    There's a BBC radio series that tells the history of social housing, from when it was first conceived by Victorian entrepreneurs to house their workers and the first council built estate, which was necessary to combat diseases which were being spread through overcrowding in insanitary slums, through the need to house people after the devastation of WW2, the aspirations of having a more equitable and fairer society in the post war years and the events that led to the demise of social housing


    What the programme reveals, is that at one time, council housing was regarded as very desirable, frequently being built for the middle class, rather than those on the lowest incomes.

    The programme tells how different visions of what social housing should be like, led to some idiotic high-rise designs that became undesirable after a decade, and of well-designed garden cities.

    What it doesn't explain is inept government policies that made council housing impossible to properly maintain after the 1973 oil crisis, which caused the rampant inflation we experienced throughout the 70s.

    Council house rents were not allowed to keep pace with inflation. The cost of maintaining council housing though, was subject to inflation, so eventually, what had once been good, well-maintained estates, became undesirable.

    In the main, where council housing consisted of houses, they were usually quite spacious and well-designed. Anyone in a middle class profession would have been proud to live in one.
    needabreak likes this.
  15. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    The rules dictated that councils could keep 50% of the proceeds and most of this could only be used to reduce council debt. Councils could only spend it on new housing once they had cleared their backlog of debt (and some never did, of course).
  16. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    I doubt that you are alone... people who I know who bought their council homes were looking to self improve and perhaps dodge the poverty trap (nothing to be ashamed of in my book), they often were not thinking of the wider long term effects, many would say it wasn't their job to look to long term effects... that was and is the role of the Government and subsequent ones.
    kibosh likes this.
  17. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    Then the rules were wrong.
  18. Geoff Thomas

    Geoff Thomas Star commenter

    Under Right to Buy, councils were forced to sell their property at below market value.

    If this was such a brilliant scheme, why wasn't it applied to privately owned rented properties, too?
    kibosh and red_observer like this.
  19. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    Er... nothing. We grew up in one!
    kibosh likes this.
  20. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    Thatcher greed and selfishness that’s why

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