Conservatives plotting the end of Council Housing: Rob the poor and give to the rich – housing policy for 2016

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Rob the poor and give to the rich – housing policy for 2016

his afternoon, MPs will vote on a proposed law. As a bit of policy, it is as belligerently incoherent as a drunk at 2am. As a piece of politics, it will harm millions of people, while making one of the gravest crises facing our country even worse. Yet I’m fairly sure this piece will be one of the few across the press and the BBC even to discuss it.

Granted, the housing and planning bill can never outdo the excitement surrounding the ups and downs of Hilary Benn, the new Mr Darcy of every wet-eyed columnist. But the UK housing market is a catastrophe so dire that it causes even Manhattanites to marvel. A recent Guardian interactive makes the point: any would-be homebuyer earning the national average of £26,500 will now find 91% of England and Wales beyond their reach. If you can’t buy, you rent – except in London, the epicentre of the madness where rents are so extortionate, newspapers compete for horror stories. Consider the £480 a month charged for a mattress in the corner of a communal lounge in a shed in the east end.

You don’t need me to lather on facts and figures. Anyone trying to get a toehold in the housing market, or whose children are, already knows how badly broken it is – and grasps the implications. How it gouges money from those who don’t own only to put it in the pockets of those who do. How it forces anyone from outside London either to accept that they won’t be able to pursue a modestly paying career there – or will have to grind out at least a decade of expensive squalor to do so. And how that makes the UK both more unjust and economically weaker.

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