Objective One – Andrew George got it pretty well right!

Bernard Deacon

Back in 1998 when Objective One was won, Andrew George warned that if the Council and other policy-makers continued with the policy follies of the past, things such as devonwall and population-led growth, Objective One would turn out to be a disaster. We’d ‘end up with more tarmac,more concrete, more population, but fewer jobs, lower wages, lower GDP and the continuing marginalisation of local people’. Andrew got it dead right apart from the jobs – and how many of the better paid jobs have gone to Cornish people? Needless to say, this is a question not on the research agenda.



300,000 houses – more misinformation

Anyone listening to the Today programme this week could be forgiven for falling into believing that 300,000 houses need to be built each year. Earlier in the week an interviewee stated that they were only building half the houses needed and was not questioned and today, in a section on house building in Kent, the presenter referred to ‘the 300,000 houses Ministers and others say they are committed to …’

By not questioning the 300,000 house figure the BBC is clearly agreeing with it which may well encourage people to support more housing.

As we know the 300,000 figure is way above what is needed.

2001-13 an average of 165,000 households per year, and 169,000 extra dwellings a year.

If we went for a figure of 170,000 a year to meet housing need why build another 130,000 a year?

A strange coalition – the house building lobby?

There is a coalition supporting more housebuilding; on the political front most parties support more house building; the development sector including developers are also in favour. Then there are the various groups concerned with affordable housing or the homeless and finally the commentariat consisting of various media outlets.

With such a broad and united coalition it might appear that more house building is a good thing, yet such unanimity belies the fragility of the evidence.

It is understandable why developers want more housing, more means more profit and bonuses for directors. Yet despite their reference to meeting need in reality developers cater to a market, one which is created and controlled in large part by the development lobby. They build houses to make a profit focusing on luxury housing, investment properties and the like not affordable housing.

Housing charities have an understandable concern for those in need, yet often fail to appreciate that simply building houses does not allow them to reach their objectives.

As for politicians, a combination of a desire not to attack vested interests (and presumably donors in some cases) and ideological hang-ups mean that building more houses is regarded as the easy option.

The commentariat suffer from a lack of understanding of how the housing market works, a failure to question received wisdom and a total inability to look at evidence. A good story is better than a factual understanding.

A common thread running through the comments of many supporters is to blame someone else – the old, so-called nimbys. Blaming the rich and powerful is not acceptable and questioning sacred cows such as population growth is not permissible!

HCR (‘waiting list’) numbers down, no need for all those housing developments then?

There are currently 18,500 households registered with Cornwall Homechoice and only a small number of vacancies each week.


It is interesting to note that current HCR numbers now at 18,500 are well below the 30,020 figures for 2016. A lot of this reduction is we guess the result of removing households who were not in need. We suspect that the new rules will result in a further fall.

This raises an interesting question – namely as lots of development proposals were pushed forward on the basis of housing need using flawed figures, then presumably some of these developments are no longer required and permission should be rescinded?

As we have argued in the past the level of need has been exaggerated and many of those on the HCR are already in accommodation. Therefore we do not have to build that many new houses.

Many of the problems of housing relate to the distribution of the housing stock; earnings; benefit rules and lack of security of tenure for many private renters.

Home Choice Register – changes ahead!

There are currently 18,500 households registered with Cornwall Homechoice and only a small number of vacancies each week.

Applying to the register
Applicants who have assets valued at over £50,000, or those who have an income of £60,000 or more will not qualify to join Cornwall Homechoice.
Other than in exceptional circumstances, a household where anyone has demonstrated anti-social behaviour within the last 2 years will not be able to join the register.

Low level Welfare need will no longer be banded
Banding will only be given for Urgent and high level cases of disrepair
Applicants who are owed a statutory homeless duty by the Council will be Band ‘C’ rather than Band ‘B’
Meeting two banding criteria will no longer result in moving to the band above e.g. Two Band C criteria will no longer equal a Band ‘B’

Applying for properties

To be allocated a council home or a home managed by one of our partner registered providers to which the Council has nomination rights, applicants must be able to demonstrate a 3 year local connection.
For homes owned and managed by the Council, preference will be given to an applicant whose household income is £30,000 or less.
Applicants can bid for one property per bidding cycle (usually a week).
Applicants who do not bid on any property for 12 months will be removed from the register.
Refusals – Applicants who turn down 2 suitable and reasonable properties that are offered to them are removed from the register and cannot reapply for a period of 12 months.

For more: https://www.cornwallhousing.org.uk/housing/housing-strategy/council-allocation-scheme/

Less population growth but not really worse off!

The latest report on the possible outcomes of Brexit from the GLA suggests that total output will be lower under a variety of scenarios than would have been the case without Brexit. A number of factors would operate to reduce output including trade, investment and size of the labour force. What is interesting however, is that if the population were to fall, output per person and demand for services would also fall such that the fall in GDP per head would be marginal. Which illustrates the argument that population increase is not beneficial to the existing population. Economic growth derived from population growth creates the illusion of greater prosperity!

[Of course we need to cut growth before we destroy the planet!]

There could be the Japan-ification of the UK economy. The report expects all parts of the UK economy to shrink over the next 12 years from trade and investment to employment and government revenues. But with the population also expected to fall significantly from current official projections, the number of people in the country needing jobs and government services will be lower, allowing for only marginal falls in GDP per head.

In Japan, GDP has remained largely static for two decades and yet the population has remained largely satisfied. This follows a decline in the population that means GDP per head increases.


Greater London Authority, Preparing for Brexit, 2018.

Its not building more houses which are affordable its providing more affordable housing!

Most commentators who talk about affordable housing are under the illusion that we have to build more housing. But we don’t need to build more housing we just need to ensure we build the right sort. Instead of giving planning permission for and allowing developers to build the houses they know will sell we need to change the share of housing allocated for affordable housing!

Instead of luxury housing; housing built for investment purposes or holiday homes we need to concentrate on houses for people to live in, whether by renting or buying.