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Government loses ‘bedroom tax’ vote

5 September 2014

The government has just lost a vote in the House of Commons on the ‘bedroom tax’/removal of the spare-room subsidy/underoccupancy penalty/Size Criteria for People Renting in the Social Rented Sector (the correct, if rather clunky, name). There was a three-line whip from the Tories on the vote, but the Lib Dems had decided they would support their colleague Andrew George’s bill to exempt those who cannot move to a smaller home, or who are disabled and live in an adapted property.

The Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons today, and passed 306 votes to 231. Jacob Rees-Mogg moved an amendment that the Bill should be considered by a select committee, in an attempt to slow it up, but it was also defeated.

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It’s less interesting that the Coalition parties have voted in different ways on this Bill: we’ve got rather used to this by now. But what’s interesting is that the Liberal Democrats are quite happy to reinforce what is a Labour campaign. The party announced that it would repeal the ‘bedroom tax’ last year, partly because of pressure from the SNP, who were using it as a key plank of their independence campaign, and partly because it is the one cut that does not poll particularly well. Now Labour MPs are making it very clear that this Lib Dem Bill is just the first step in their campaign to repeal the whole cut. And the Lib Dems, by choosing to make support of George’s Bill an official line, are validating that Labour narrative.

As for the Conservatives, the way this cut has been handled has been an object lesson in how to lose an argument. The underoccupancy penalty is perfectly reasonable when the supply of social housing is extremely scarce and there are 241,000 overcrowded council and housing association properties. Overcrowded housing is a social injustice, and quite horrible to see: four children sleeping one tiny, mouldy room in a flat where there is no room for a table to write your homework at, or any space for a harried parent to get a minute’s peace.

But the cut apparently designed to remedy this (it’s worth remembering that this was announced in the 2010 emergency budget as a money-saving measure, rather than a key part of Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms) was poorly designed. The changes that Andrew George is proposing do make sense, and had ministers incorporated them earlier, none of this fiasco would have occurred. It is perfectly reasonable to limit housing benefit to the number of rooms that someone needs in a social rented home – and this tallies perfectly with the end of tenancy for life in the social rented sector that the Coalition introduced when it came to power too. But it is unreasonable to tell tenants that they must move when there is nowhere for them to move, or when you have spent a sizeable amount of money adapting their home for their disability.

Ministers also failed to give the Size Criteria for People Renting in the Social Rented Sector a proper name. Removal of the spare room subsidy is not a proper name, either. And so this measure’s opponents were able to make it sound scary and unreasonable.

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Show comments
  • David Ganz

    A pity that Isabel lacks the integrity to expose the Duncansmith/Freud/Atos axis of evil, the places the money for assesments goes, and the reason why Freud makes the Tories the (very) nasty party. Duncan Smith is a known liar, though in a cabinet where past adultery is almost an entry requirement lies don’t now matter, we poor electors are too stupid to care. But Freud is an ideologue who hoipes to castrate or imrprison the undeserving poor.

  • Radford_NG

    What’s the difference between the DWP and the Organization Todt?

    Organization Todt was fit for purpose.

  • ZypheR

    This TAX will be remembered for generations. My government gets no loyalty from me for inventing a new TAX, applying it quickly, TAXING people already making every pound stretch then voting for its removal just before #ScotlandDecides for independence. Scottish Independence can’t come quick enough. Us Scots can get on with balancing the money, reducing the gap in inequality.

    • Alexsandr

      calling it a tax is ignorant. its a benefit cut.

      • ZypheR

        Whatever it is called it is the most stupid thing I’ve seen our gov do in my 30 years of life and I cannot trust Westminster for many years.

  • Mukkinese

    Well it is scary and unreasonable, for just the same reasons you give.

    The reasonable amendments that George’s bill wants to introduce,
    to make this law fairer,were there at the beginning, but the Coalition stripped them away in it’s hubris over the unquestioning support by the press of attacks on welfare…

  • Angela Sullivan

    I am fed up with hearing the rooms in question being described as “spare” when they are not. Am I the only person who thinks that it is preferable for children to have their own room, rather than sharing, particularly if the rooms are small or the children are of dissimilar ages? (Government policy is that children under 18 should sleep two to a bedroom, unless they are over 10 and of opposite sexes). The “spare” rooms also belong to divorced parents who were not awarded custody, who use them to have their children to stay. (Government policy is for children of divorcees to camp on the sofa, or just not visit.)

    And most normal people like to have, and use a “spare” bedroom, for visitors, storage, study, a work-room, a music room, etc. I can understand why tax-payers would object to funding luxury mansions for benefit claimants, but most people hit by the bedroom tax are living normal lives in ordinary houses.

    • Alexsandr

      A spare room is a luxury, not a need. we should not subsidise it.

      • GraveDave

        You’re not subsiding it. In fact it’s highly likely that the whole fiasco is costing more than what it’s saving.. Well, anything with IDS’ fingers
        in it, should it really come as a surprise.

      • Livia

        By punishing those who happen to have cupboard where a kid once slept and who can’t possibly move because there are no houses to move to. Even if that punishment ends up costing the country more. The whole thing is a proven failure, stop clinging to your flat-earth theory.

    • susie24

      I agree, what is so “luxurious” about having a bedroom each? This whole policy was warped, it was led by dogma and ideology not economics and definitely not by common sense and decency.

  • perdix

    An estate near where I live had all the properties upgraded, bathrooms, kitchens, etc. Cost per property was £50,000. Few private owners could have afforded that.

    • red2black

      Who did the actual work to upgrade the houses? Where were the materials and appliances sourced from? Also, it’s far cheaper to do this than build new properties that no-one on a low income can afford to rent, never mind buy.

  • jamesbarn

    My mother in law lived in a large three bedroomed council house since being widowed and left with 4 children. OnceI had wed her youngest she applied for years to be moved to a smaller property or an old folks bungalow, all alas to no avail, The property was falling into disrepair and I did a bit of maintenance for her including replacing her broken courtier stove. The local council did absolutly nothing. After she sadly passed away at the age of 82 the local council compleatly refurbished the property with cental heating an double glazing. At the time there were several thousand locals on the Housung list but they were ignored and the property was allocated to a family of Vietnamese boat people,

    • Colonel Mustard

      That is a terribly sad indictment of modern Britain. Might we ask who controlled the council and where it is?

    • GraveDave

      Housung list but they were ignored and the property was allocated to a family of Vietnamese boat people,

      Same almost with my friend. There was also a bit of palaver about the death certificate and he had to go on paying rent until it came through.
      Two weeks after he cleared her belongings he drove past it and saw a big family of Somalians coming in and out.

  • Radford_NG

    UKIP will abolish bed-room-tax and income-tax on the minimum wage;charge 40% upper-rate starting at £45,000.

    • Radford_NG

      And abolish Green-taxes and subsidies.

    • Alexsandr

      what about the dreadful NI? that needs abolishing and making part of income tax asap

      • Radford_NG

        As with a flat-tax it raises objections;and problems to do with Pensioners:and UKIP has got enough establishment hostility to deal with as it is.

        • Alexsandr

          it isnt beyond the wit of man to find some form of age allowance to stop pensioners losing out with the merger.

  • Lina R

    Theory behind it seemed fair – if you’re one person in a three-bedroom property and there is a waiting list for these sized properties, it’s reasonable to move into a smaller property. Those in the private rental market often have to move and they don’t get extra bedrooms in the process. However this policy still seems to be have been devised by people who have little understanding of the social housing market and should never have penalised people if they had nowhere to move to.

  • Tom M

    Stepping into an area of which I have scant knowledge it always seemed a sensible idea to me that if the taxpayer is funding accomodation then it should only fund sufficient for the accomodation needed by the circumstances of the applicant.
    If an applicant wanted to live in a larger house and these were available, fine, but the taxpayer wouldn’t be funding the higher rent.

    • susie24

      You are absolutely correct, you have scant knowledge of the social housing market.

  • ManOfKent

    It’s less interesting that the Coalition parties have voted in different
    ways on this Bill: we’ve got rather used to this by now. But what’s
    interesting is that the Liberal Democrats are quite happy to reinforce
    what is a Labour campaign.

    The Libdems will screw anyone if they think it will benefit them, political whores that they are.

    PS Q: How do you work out who the Libdems are in any crowd of people.

    A: Put up a red light and see which people gravitate towards it…..

  • you_kid

    It is becoming ever more obvious – Ukip and the Tories are doing (unofficial) deals to boost the Ukip MP share, this is desperately needed due to a complete lack of representation of the right in Parliament. If this fails the entire (un)democratic English electorial system is at risk.

    The LibDems are merely returning to their left wing roots. Who is surprised?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …and you and the sockpuppets are still rooted in socialist nuttery, as we see.

  • global city

    Probably the only sensible thing that the Lib Dems have ever come up with…..and that is in direct contradiction to what they supported six months ago.

  • teepee

    I don’t feel particularly moved by Isabel’s claim that overcrowding is a social injustice: in many cases it’s a lifestyle choice. How many of the families with ‘four children sleeping [in] one tiny, mouldy room …’ carry on reproducing while living in cramped conditions, or should even be in the country at all?

  • IRF

    How did the ‘Government’ lose the bedroom tax vote, when one of the parties of government won the vote on a bill they were supporting with a three-line whip? That headline smacks of a ‘divine right to rule’ Tory mentality.

  • Jamie Thunder

    “Andrew George’s bill to exempt those who cannot move to a smaller home, or who are disabled and live in an adapted property.”

    I think this would only exempt those who are disabled and live in an adapted property *and* have not been offered a smaller home. The cut can still be imposed on able-bodied people if there’s no smaller home available.

    Text here if anyone wants to check:

  • telemachus

    Life is getting sweeter by the day
    The Coalition have lost the initiative. There is no purpose left

    • Colonel Mustard

      “Life is getting sweeter by the day”

      Not with you here. Labour are untouchable, teflon coated. Even after Mid-Staffs, Rotherham and the misery of 1997-2010 the country still wants to skewer itself by putting those clowns into power. But face it, telemachus, it is not really “the country” that will bring that about in England but the Red Cities, minority public sector, so-called third sector stuffed to the gills with Labour apparatchiks and the client base of benefits claimants and imported voters.

      By all means gloat but never pretend you gloat for everyone you charlatan.

      • Coastliner

        Thank you – an excellent post.

      • Livia

        There’s clowns on both sides of the house. Some time out of power might give the tories a chance to put together some better ideas. edit: they can’t be any worse than Clegg.

        • Colonel Mustard

          The clowns in Labour are the creepy, scary kind. All smiles and fake halos with a Tokarev held behind their backs.

          Far worse than Clegg.

      • Tony_E

        Never can that point be rammed home enough. Labour tried to change the country permanently through mass immigration, massive voter employment schemes, and welfare led vote purchasing.

        It is no surprise to me that the people they imported, housed, paid and their representatives in the third sector all vote for them.

        • Alexsandr

          will they all. some may be businessmen who may well vote right of centre.

      • Alexsandr

        its not the country. its the unfair constituency sizes and postal ballot fraud that will put millipede in no 10

    • Holly

      One less thing to moan about I suppose.

    • Bert

      There never was a purpose for useless Liberals.
      However, the Augean Stables full of s**t that Blair, Brown, Balls and Wallace gifted us still need to be flushed out.

      • telemachus

        Their purpose was spent when they took the anger over tuition fees
        And that in turn did for them
        Next May they will decline to a Grimond Rump

        • Alexsandr

          remind me who brought in tuition fees again?

  • P_S_W

    As a Conservative supporter, I wholeheartedly support this change which is common sense and which was advocated by Conservatives of a similar mindset from day one.
    Labour have a bit of a nerve criticising though seeing as they brought it in initially, albeit for private rented accomodation, with the Coalition simply trying to ensure fairness by implementing it across the complete rented system.
    When Labour come to power in 2015 and repeal this completely, will they also repeal it for private tenants as well?

    • Colonel Mustard

      They should have seen the danger and been more circumspect about quantifying the benefits vs fallout before doing it.

      I agree about Labour’s criticism but the Coalition should have seen it coming.

      “When Labour come to power in 2015 and repeal this completely, will they also repeal it for private tenants as well?”

      Doubt it! Not part of their recognised “client base”.

    • global city

      The private and public rented markets work completely differently. That was always the idiocy of the initiative.

      • Alexsandr

        really? people rent a house and pay rent.

        • global city

          No. To get a public sector controlled house you join a system. There are advantages and disadvantages to doing that. One of the advantages is assured tenancy once on board, a big disadvantage is the interminably slow pace that most public housing agencies work to.

          After all that, you pay your rent.

    • GraveDave

      How many people have suffered (and even died) over this waste of time and money idea?

  • Terence Hale

    Mr. Cameron’s greatest blunder, the bedroom tax. A Sheriff of Nottingham tax that cost more than it brings. It may cost him his job.

  • Jane Young

    The real shame of this is that the Lib Dems didn’t find either their conscience or their common sense sooner. Going into coalition should never have made them sheep, devoid of their own sense of fairness, morality and pragmatism. They have supported a selfish and divisive ideology under the pretext of “saving the country”.

    Our country hasn’t been saved; it has become more unequal, it has become a place where food poverty is the norm in many areas and where our citizens are routinely punished for doing their very best to cope in often appalling hardship. Fairness? Don’t make me laugh…

    • telemachus

      A sage post
      We only have 9 more months
      And then caring and fairness will be the test in all our legislation

      • global city

        Blind dogma and zealotry do you mean? Ed loves his dad, he loves his ideas just about the same too!

      • Alexsandr

        but with only 35% max of the vote. Hardly a ringing mandate is it?
        milliband will only get a majority because of the unequal constuencies and postal vote fraud.

    • Tony_E

      Food poverty. Add to that energy poverty and a whole host of other issues.

      None of them have anything to do with this government.

      They are all a product of monetary policy, the Greenspan expansion, which was jumped on with glee by the Brown puppets at the bank of England.

      If you keep tossing money into the system, then all that happens is that the pound in your pocket devalues. That’s what the economic miracle was from 2000-07, with a healthy dose of China pricing and mass immigration to hold wage and luxury goods down. Once the wheels came off, there was always going to be a reckoning. Money enters the system through borrowing and bonds, the government gets full value but then the money is out there amd the population sees their cash eroded. And the institutions can gamble with all that cheap money for profit, they have little choice because the market is skewed by the fresh money.

      There were always people who couldn’t survive without help. The difference now is not their numbers, though they have increased as every generation is bigger than the last, it’s that there is more help available and the charities are more political and vocal since brown changed the law to allow that, knowing that he had placemen at the top of many leading charities.

      • Alexsandr

        the concept of relative poverty thats partly to blame.

  • Jayson Carmichael

    That questions never been put as such in singularity

  • Jayson Carmichael

    So the moral now is that Parliament has voted to exempt the disabled from the Bedroom Tax.

    • telemachus

      More importantly Parliament has voted to restore fairness to welfare

      • Tony_E

        No, it’s voted to give public sector tenants an advantage over private sector ones, returning us to the basic unfairness that Labour installed in their last term

        • susie24

          I am continually amazed by the complete lack of accuracy, let alone truth, in your posts. Try getting your facts correct before posting such right wing garbage.

          • Tony_E

            So there’s a difference between not allowing a spare room subsidy in the private rented sector and the public rented sector.
            Would you like to explain to me why different housing benefit rules should be applied to different tenants dependent on who their landlord is?

            • susie24

              ???? I didn’t introduce a different rule the tories did. Why don’t you check the facts out for yourself (as I did) instead of falling for tory lies. Remember this was a policy from the IDS stable.

              • Tony_E

                No – Labour changed the housing benefit rules in the last parliament to remove subsidy for spare rooms in the private rented sector, providing an assessment for the necessary number of rooms rented and creating a financial reduction in benefit for ‘spare rooms’.

                All the Tories did was to extend the principle to cover public sector rents in a similar way. Labour has argued that this is different in some way – I was simply asking why you think it is different.

                • susie24

                  I don’t think it is different, it is different. I, and others, have explained this several times but here goes:- Labour introduced the reduction in spare room subsidy for the private rented sector in 1997 (?), this was applied to NEW tenancies. It was NOT RETROSPECTIVE. So existing tenants were not faced with a financial penalty and forced to leave their homes.
                  The tories’ policy was retrospective so people who had lived in a property for many years were faced with a financial penalty through no fault of their own. There are many other aspects of this policy which are unfair and I do not have the time (nor the inclination) to list them all. But:-
                  Social Housing is allocated so tenants have very little choice.
                  There are very few properties with less than 3 bedrooms because it is economically more viable for housing associations to hold 3 bedroom properties.
                  The rents for social housing are generally much lower than for those in the private sector so if a tenant moves from a 3 bed in the social sector to a 2 bed in the private sector (if they can afford the moving costs!) the housing benefit will probably INCREASE.
                  The majority of the overcrowding is in London and the SE and the majority of the under occupancy is in the North.
                  There are councils on Merseyside with 3 bed properties lying empty because tenants can not afford them!
                  This was a poorly thought through policy and was dogma led not economically led. The tories are toxic.

    • global city

      No, what will happen is that if a disabled person ends up with a house which is too big for them, THEY will not be punished if their public sector landlord do not shift themselves and find suitable accommodation.
      many of the posts on here show just how few knows how that sector actually works.

      Most important point for everyone to remember is that nobody, after waiting years on a list to be offered accommodation will be offered an inappropriate one – NOBODY. the problem arises in a change of circumstance. Kids leave home after being raised in a family house, someone dies, divorce. Small families who perhaps moved in with parents to look after them are left with the extra room when the parents die. The permutations that leave people in changed circumstances are manifold……. then the problems start.

      You can apply for a transfer, but it is up to the provider when this happens. There is nothing within the system that the tenant can do to hurry things along or engineer a different outcome, so why should they be charged?

      They could, of course, leave the public housing sector by making themselves homeless.

      • Tony_E

        Or look to the private rented sector, leaving the stock open for a more appropriate Tennant. One in, one out – that was what this was designed to do, to reduce the housing shortage by combining the private and public rented sector under similar benefit rules, removing a penalty for moving to the private rented sector.

        Of course, the Lib Demo didn’t exactly help explain this. It was not about saving money.

        • global city

          but the systems are completely incompatible. I am not writing this stuff as a defence of the public housing market… quite the reverse in most respects. My main point though is that tenants cannot be penalised for the shortcomings of the social housing associations and councils.

          One of the main flaws in your assertion is that it is impossible to just flit from one sector to the other. The system is gamed by the housing providers, but again, tenants should not be penalised for structures more suited to the USSR in the 1950s’ than the UK in the 21st C.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Not surprised. This was a stupid idea that only served to provide ammunition to the “shadow” government for little real gain in terms of saving.

    • dalai guevara

      Of course, that’s why the Tories did it. They wanted to introduce a new goal line technology and open up their goal at the same time. Very clever that.

  • AndyPlatt

    The bedroom tax will always be flawed because, when you apply for social housing, you don’t get to pick where you go. To then financially penalise someone for a decision that wasn’t theirs is totally unjust.

    As for social housing being scarce, the answer is to build more of it. This will mean savings in housing benefit as social rents are cheaper and there will be less demand for private rented housing so those rents will drop too. It will also be a stimulus for the construction industry too, helping the wider economy.

    It’s an all round win, apart from for owner-occupation ideologues and the private landlords who have hoovered up all the right-to-buy properties. Unfortunately the political class is stuffed full of both groups so it won’t happen any time soon.

    • telemachus

      “To then financially penalise someone for a decision that wasn’t theirs is totally unjust.”
      But that is uncaring Tory philosophy
      Kick a man while he is down
      As long as it feeds thru to the bottom line

      • global city

        It’s worse really. What the whole initiative showed was that nobody in the whole party had any idea ta ll of how the social housing market actually works….none what so ever. None of them knows that it is not a tenant led, fluid system, that exchanges and transfers take years for the housing associations and councils to arrange.

        They are not even aware that what money was spent during Thather’s period was spent on ‘Homes for Life’. Even ‘Maggie’ understood thta these houses should be seen as homes by people with extremely limited options. They also did not grasp that those same councils have been handed £Bns by central government over the last twenty years to mass demolish just those sorts of homes that could now be used for transfers.

        • telemachus

          The Tories refuse to invest in housing for people on low incomes
          If we do not change soon we will see the final hours of state-subsidised social housing provision
          We will see nice but poor families in drug infested hovels in Hastings and the like
          And if social housing is no longer the interest of George for-us-and-ours Osborne what other public services will we see decimated
          We already have to queue for hours in the street if taken by ambulance to Casualty – until we are gasping on our last legs
          Until Gove was removed we were moving to the situation of survival of only the fittest in education
          Only 9 more months my friend
          Just nine

        • ZypheR

          Madness huh. Surely they didn’t think 660,000 people with spare rooms would manage to move home in any time scale that makes the TAX reasonable. Imaging if someone had to pay it for 7 years waiting on an offer for a smaller place.

          How could they afford to even do the move?

      • PJLennon

        Hi Telemachus, welcome back my friend; you’re going to upset the spotty Tory boys with your rebellious comments – bring it on!!!

        I’ll predict the future after the next election
        •Lib Dem Kippers (2 faced and yellow) a rump party of no more than 10 MP’s.
        •UKIP (Monty Python’s Silly Party) will split the Tory vote and gain no more than 2 seats

        •Tories reduced to 250 seats
        •Labour majority of 100

        • telemachus

          Seems about right
          Salmond permitting

        • Alexsandr

          dream on.

        • chouenlai

          All that might be the case if everybody was as thick as you and Tele.

          • PJLennon

            Troll on my friend; duck’s back and water spring to mind.

    • fundamentallyflawed

      A case of right idea but horrendous application and no real thought to alternatives

      • telemachus

        A case of following the philosophy of greed and envy without a care for the consequences

        • fundamentallyflawed

          Its not greed or envy when tax payer money is spent so people can live in properties that are far too big for their needs.

          Its not even a cost saving really as I imagine many of the under occupied homes would be used for other social housing. Its about fairness, something I thought you were very keen on

          • Colonel Mustard

            He is more keen on lying as much as possible for the Labour party and boasting about the number of chickens that haven’t hatched yet.

            • fundamentallyflawed

              I see Ed Miliband is trying the “social justice” line for the election. I don’t even know what it means.. whatever the Left want it to mean I suppose

          • susie24

            Yes and the whole policy and it’s application,was totally unfair.

        • Alexsandr

          you must remember it was labour who created the spare room subsidy for private tenants. Why is there a different policy depending on who your landlord is?

          • telemachus

            Times have moved on
            There is much less social housing now and no where for folks to move if they have a spare room
            Hence this being a “tax” on the poor

            • Alexsandr

              so why is it equitable to ‘tax’ those in private rented accommodation but not those in public rented accommodation.?

              if you want a nasty tax on the poor, then look at employees NI, which starts at just over £100/pw. how is a tax on those earning so little fair?

              edit. NI starts at £111/pw

            • Alexsandr

              Ah, so you agree with withdrawing the subsidy then? because as you have said social housing is in short supply. Therefore, you must then agree with any measure to make best use of the scarce resource. Which is what withdrawing of the spare room subsidy is supposed to do.

              • Livia

                Supposed to do, but failed.

          • susie24

            The policy for private tenants was not retrospective so people were not forced out of their “homes” (yes even the poor are entitled to a home) by economic sanctions.

      • Flintshire Ian

        Rather like Community Charge (Poll Tax to the Labour unwashed)- a great idea badly implemented.

    • M P Jones

      The whole system of public sector-owned housing is ridiculous and market-distorting. Social housing should be sold off and all letting conducted on free market terms.

      That way the social system can set subsidies at reasonable levels and allow those receiving them to accept responsibility for their own economy.

      • Alexsandr

        quite. people should be charged the market rents and receive a subsidy if their income warrants it.

      • AndyPlatt

        The housing market NEEDS to be distorted.

        Housing is too important to be left to the market alone, that just leads to price bubbles, slums and houses being used simply for investment purposes rather than homes. None of this is even remotely desirable to anyone apart from swively-eyed ideologues and Russian ogelarchs.

        Besides, any subsidy system will be market distorting anyway. There’s no such thing as a truly free market, there’s always regulation (or rigging) of some kind.

        • M P Jones

          Just one “distortion” is required: keeping speculators out of the market by limiting ownership entitlement to families living in the houses.

          • AndyPlatt

            Got to admit I wasn’t expecting a suggestion like that, that’s radical in the extreme!

            Ignoring the fact that world capitalism would never let you get away with abolishing property investment/speculation overnight, I think your idea has major flaws. Even if you’re happy to abandon the unemployed to homelessness, there are still people who are not economically active and possibly never can be eg disabled. Your subsidy system would then effectively be buying them a home out of state funds which probably would be unpopular with ‘hard-working families™’. Inheritance isues would come into it too.

            I think therefore your idea would be opposed by the right because it alienates property ownership as capital interests, the middle who hate anybody getting ‘something for nothing’ and the left who would be concerned with the housing needs of the unemployed.

            It’s also worth saying that returning to municipal building does give councils more control over housing strategy which is useful for environmental needs and democratic accountability.

            But you’re nothing if not brave, although for someone who says they don’t like market distortion your idea is as big a distortion as they come!

            • M P Jones

              Lol, yes – let’s allow mutuals then :-).

              There are many good elements in the Addison Act of course but I would like to divest ownership from the public sector. With regard to the speculators they can play with commercial property and still supply mortgages.

              Also, statements here tend to be very short and thus more categorical than practical.

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