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Affordable Housing

Comment 5th July 2010

Like all local council services, affordable housing is anathema to Conservative ideology, whether it is good or bad, council services must go and be replaced by the private sector.  Council services themselves are viewed as second rate public sector services behind nursing, teaching, the armed forces etc and therefore, when faced with the average 25% cut, council services and in particluar those such as affordable housing will face significantly higher cuts.  Is this right?  Do councils do a bad job? Can society exist without good quality affordable housing?  Can the private scetor deliver?  The answer all these have in common is No.  Without good quality affordable housing, the economy cannot function and history tells us that cutting expenditure in this sector wil have dire consequences for affordability and therefore on productivity.  What is needed?  Well, I for one as a housing professional believe the Labour Government had it right (and by the way I did not vote Labour in the General Election).  You need regional planning with tragets that councils, housing associations and the private sector can achieve.  Without such a framework you have chaos and NIMBYism abound.  In other words nothing will get done.  Added to this a cut from the budget of 40%, a reduction in HB and threats of reducing benefit even though the jobs will not be available, and you have a recipe for disaster.

 

When did the public sector become the enemy?  The world is coming out of a banking induced recession one in which the public sector played no part.  The UK was at the forefront of the global economic recovery with the majority (yes THE majority) of economists praising the former Prime Minister.  The UK debt was built up bailing out the banks and sustaining ecomionc growth.  All statistics show this to have been the right thing, with current debt lower than forecast and falling faster, unemployment falling, the economy improving ~ and all under Labour's watch.  Cut, cut, cut, the mantra of the coalition will result in hundreds of thousands more unemployed ~ its no wonder VAT has been increased as this hits everyone even the unemployed, while to raise Income Tax (the most progressive and cheapes form of tax) would result in falling revenue as unemployment rises. 

 

My solution?  Fairly basic and obvious really.  The Lib Dems should cut and run before it is too late.  It probably already is, but you may just be in time.  Force another general election and let the people decide.  The current agenda is not what anyone in this country voted for regardless of whether they are on the right, left or centre of politics!    

Why does this matter?

Because the public sector is not the enemy.  The coalition has been allowed to spin the view that the recession is Labour's fault and by constantly repeating the [ideological] need that expenditure within the public sector should be cut ~ there is no evidence this is needed or desirable ~ the right wing press are able to complete the picture that the public sector is to blame.  IT IS NOT.  The blame rests squarely with greed and the banking sector.  The public sector should not be made the scapegoat and expected to suffer uneccesarily.  Granted cut waste, but not much needed front line service.


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