Danny Dorling in his book ‘All that is Solid, The Great Housing Disaster’ examines the housing issue in the UK. He produces a list of solutions for housing. These are listed below.
- Extend the current council tax bands up to band ‘Z’ with a view to transforming the tax into a fairer national land and property tax.
- Enhance the existing ‘right-to-stay’ into a ‘right-to-sell’, giving mortgagors the right to become tenants rather than face eviction.
- Second homes, holiday homes and empty commercial property need to be included in a fairer property tax system to discourage waste.
- Spare bedrooms should not be taxed. Every family should be able to live in a home with a spare room for visitors. We already have enough room. Every single adult who wants their own space should have it.
- An enhanced home-building programme will be needed if more people come into the UK than leave, as has been the case in recent years.
- Benefits are now so low that they must soon rise faster than wages, which must rise faster than salaries – all of which must rise faster than house prices. Rents need to stay still, if not fall. All of these are out of balance.
- Greater income and wealth equality would be improved by the reintroduction of rent controls, which would also reduce housing benefit bills massively. The already calculated Local Housing Allowances could be used to set the maximum fair rent in an area.
- Squatting and all other acts that are done purely to seek shelter and not to steal items for profit should again be a civil, not a criminal, offence. Squatting is a symptom of a problem, not the problem.
- Illegal actions by landlords and bankers that deprive people of their home and shelter should become criminal, rather than civil, offences.
- We have to recognise that housing is central to environmental sustainability. When we build, we need to build for the very long term.
Comments welcome on these. We will be assessing some of these at a later date. For anyone interested in housing issues this book is a good read with some provocative points.