This is my blog. I don't just write about fashion, I am interested in everything!
Today I have been thinking of the new Housing and Planning Bill which is currently in committee stage in the House of Lords. The provision of housing is such a vital need for everybody in society that it is important that we all know what is going on. From what I have found out so far, this current Bill will affect anyone who:
1. Lives in social housing
2. Lives in social housing and earns more than £30,000 per year
3. May wish to buy a property at any time
4. Works in housing, property, benefits/welfare or any local authority department
Hopefully anyone of these groups of people will join me to get facts and not sleep walk into something that will put a lot of our society at a disadvantage..
The new Bill among other things promises to; promote the supply of starter homes in England at 20% less than the market rate, ban and register "rogue landlords," re-enact the Right2Buy so council tenants can buy their home, allow social landlords to increase rents for "high income" tenants and phase out secure tenancies.
Here are my concerns.
1. Basic Human Needs - as well as food, air and water, shelter is described as one of the physiological basic needs in Maslow hierarchy of needs pyramid. What's the effect on a society when the people do not have access to the basic needs? Due to lack of money, there is a record number of people in the UK being referred to food banks and homelessness is currently increasing with more and more people on housing waiting lists. Is this how we want our society to be?
2. Not all properties are worth £450,000 - in the Bill, there is a cap for the price of starter Homes which is £250,000 or £450,000 in London. According to charity Shelter, to be able to buy a London property, first time buyers under 40 should have a deposit of £98,000 and a salary of, £77,000. Not all properties are worth that much but market forces keep it high if there isn't enough supply.
3. How much is £30,000?
The Bill will allow social housing providers to charge higher rent to households earning £30,000 or higher. In theory this sounds ok but at the rate that rents are increasing, this is a scary prospect. Also in the Bill, the way that Social Housing providers are allowed to "find out" what people are earning seems like a breach of data protection laws. They will be allowed to get the information from HMRC as if investigating a criminal or gaining evidence for a prosecution. So what's the alternative if you cannot pay? Has everyone forgotten the purpose of social housing? "Needs based housing" means the tenant had a reason (or need) that qualified them to move into the property in the first place.
4. Who will administer this?
The average Housing, Council, Local Authority worker will be on salaries that are around £30,000 per annum so chances are they may be affected by this Bill or be close to someone who is. Who will administer the new procedures? Are they all ok with it?
5. In the meantime....
According to www.emptyhomes.com at the last report from Government data in September 2015, there are over 200,000 long term vacant dwellings (more than 6 months) from a total of 600,000 empty properties. This is key in London with new properties that belong to the "super rich" laying empty because they wanted the "investment opportunity."
Although the dream that everyone should be a home owner is ok, it's a nice idea really, I think there is only so much monetising of our basic human needs that society can handle especially when the majority of those in need are priced out.
Abi the fashion blogger