Restrict the sale of public land for the purpose of building social housing
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This country is experiencing an acute housing crisis. Demand far out strips supply. As a result there are £1.2m on local authority waiting lists in England alone, 100,000 homeless. Those who should be able to afford to buy on the private market are being priced out: the average house price is £244,000, the average salary in comparison is £26,000 - you can only borrow 4x earnings to buy, not 10! Meanwhile, rents are going up. There were only 66,000 affordable homes provided in the UK in 2014-15.
The answer, to reduce demand or increase supply.
In 2011 the Conservatives announced plans to increase supply and build 100,000 new homes by selling off public land to private developers.
The absolute scandal, highlighted by Channel 4’s Dispatches, is that only 64 houses have been built on land sold between 2011 and 2015, and many of the sites have not even applied for planning permission.
Why? The government failed to oblige that houses were built on this land. Failed to set deadlines for when houses should be built by. Failed to ensure the land was sold with planning permission. Failed to ensure any homes, if built at all, meet basic affordability targets.
Not only did they fail to ensure these desperately needed homes were built. They allowed the taxpayer to be ripped off by failing to get market price for this land. Ministry of Denfence land for example was generally sold at a 50% discount, costing the taxpayer and estimated £40m from MoD land alone. Costing that up to all land the taxpayer lost out on potentially £100m.
That £100m has gone straight into the pockets of private developers, already profiting from the extortionate cost of housing in this country, at the expense of all of us. We do not need a government continually acting in the interests of private companies at the expense of us: the 100,000 homeless, £1.2m on council waiting lists, millions in overpriced/substandard rented accommodation, or still living at home.
Not only has the government failed us, they have lied. All this acreage was still included in government propaganda as proof of housing policy success.
We need to call on this government to prevent this scandal from being allowed to happen again. Strict rules need to be set up around the sale of Public Land. Public land for public benefit. Therefore we call on the government:
- restrict the sale of public land for the sole purpose of developing social housing
- all land should be sold with planning permission to maximise profit
- legal obligations for developers to build new homes
- strict deadlines by which these homes need to be built or the land reverts to public ownership
- allow housing associations to develop this land, councils to borrow to build social housing (at a time when interest rates are at record lows)
- an end to the right to buy which allows transfer of social homes to the private market
Lets put an end to private developers creating luxury properties for massive profit at the expense of the tax payer. This is our land. It should be developed for our benefit. The country doesn't need any more luxury homes for international buyers. We need ordinary, affordable housing, for the hard working people who actually live and work in this country.
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