Decent Affordable housing for teachers, nurses and young coppers?
Published by Phil Morgan on Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 at 13:21 pm
Liberal Democrat President Tim Farron’s call for 250,000 new council homes to be built by 2015 may have been part of the elaborate tango between the two coalition partners but was also based on his own experience.
"Every week when I go out knocking on doors I can guarantee that before the evening is out I will meet a teacher, a nurse, a young copper, who will tell me they have no hope of finding a decent affordable home.”
Interestingly the examples used are all from the public sector and chosen from groups likely to elicit empathy from the public. Presumably other public sector workers, such as civil servants, and those working in the private sector don’t need a decent affordable home.
But surely these pillars of our local community should be able to get a decent affordable home? Well the Coalition Government could pay them more money but that seems unlikely. During the last Government I was unconvinced by the ‘Key Workers’ initiative which seems to be attempting to ‘buy off’ a problem rather than solving it. And by distorting local housing markets it might actually make have made matters worse.
So the answer is to build lots more council housing. But who pays for this? I wonder if this might be, as suggested in my earlier blog, connected to the discussion of a Mansion Tax. Set a Mansion Tax and use the income to build new council houses? Interestingly Labour flunked an opportunity to revalue council tax when they were in power. Perhaps Farron has the beginnings of a good, redistributive idea.
With the wonderfully innovative investment by the Greater Manchester Pension Fund into five housing developments also announced I wonder if the crudeness of the ‘build 250,000 homes’ could be matched by a more elegant solution involving a Mansion Tax combined with investment by the Pension Funds for Teachers, Nurses and Young Coppers.
And in return for that investment those and other groups could get decent affordable homes after all.
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