Housing crisis

Selling social housing is not the answer to the housing crisis | Opinion

We are told there were rows between Boris Johnson and his Secretary of State ahead of the Prime Minister’s recent speech on housing. I can well imagine how appalled Michael Gove would have been by his injured boss and his desperate attempts to regain the political initiative after the vote of no confidence. While Gove has said he is convinced of the value of building social housing as a means of solving the supply and affordability crisis, Johnson announces a plan to sell it…

Many of us might have hoped to know more about Gove’s planned infrastructure tax and how it will allow local authorities to fund desperately needed social housing. There is a real possibility that the as-yet-unannounced details of this policy will strengthen the capacity that several boroughs have already demonstrated to develop quality housing. There are also unanswered questions about how this policy might contribute to the race to the top, by geographically redistributing the benefits of development.

But no! Although the Prime Minister has been assuredly told that the right to buy for housing association tenants will not work, he unearths a policy that pilot projects have already proven ineffective. Discounted sale values ​​were never sufficient to allow similar replacements to be built.

The Treasury will surely find no money to compensate housing associations already burdened with huge costs to repair faulty equipment. The idea may appeal to Johnson as an echo of Thatcher’s call for proprietary democracy but, like so many of his thoughtless policies, at best it is sure to be quietly abandoned. Worse for him, she will sink into a rain of recriminations while his need for approval is at its height.

While Johnson was assuredly told that the right to buy for housing association tenants won’t work, he unearths a policy whose pilots have already proven ineffective. Discounted sale values ​​have never been sufficient to allow construction of similar replacements

He will surely have been reminded time and time again that demand-side subsidies like Help to Buy have had a massive inflationary effect on house prices. Homebuilders are quite clear that they don’t need this government support if it is to increase supply, their business model relies on regulating the flow of new homes to market.

Young mortgage holders will begin their climb up the real estate ladder with 90% mortgages at a time when no one can predict how much interest rates will rise and what the impact of the energy crisis and inflation on disposable income.

Now we have the grotesque misconception that the less well-off could be using their housing allowance to buy their homes even as more and more people line up at food banks. What is predictable though, is the flood of foreclosures these policies will bring.

The price we will pay for Boris Johnson’s fight against the vote of no confidence is a series of hastily designed caddy policies aimed at restoring party loyalists, regardless of the potential damage done.

There was talk in the trails of Johnson’s Blackpool housing speech that modular homes could feature as a way to speed up supply. That it was dropped at the event looks like another faux pas for the prime minister.

We have also just seen the publication of research from the Universities of Cambridge and Napier that HTA’s modular housing designed for Tide Construction takes half the time to build and is half the carbon intensive of traditional construction. If only he had waited, Johnson might have had solid evidence to support the very policy initiative he chose to abandon.

The price we will pay for Johnson’s fightback following the no-confidence vote is a series of hastily designed caddy policies aimed at restoring former party loyalists, regardless of the potential damage done. If the Prime Minister gets his way, reasonable housing policy will once again be the victim of political vulgarism.