THE HOUSING crisis is reaching new heights after Persimmon Homes bosses share £600 million in bonuses. Young people are struggling to find the money to get on the housing ladder while the chairman of this company gets a yearly bonus of £100 million. While this is going on there are 1000’s of people sleeping on the streets despite there being more than enough empty houses to take these people off the streets and give them a better life.
George Osborne’s 2013 Help to Buy scheme is a money making scheme for building giants Taylor Wimpey, Bellway and of course Persimmon rather than helping the first-time buyers forced to turn to it as their only opportunity to get their own home. It allows companies to raise prices of the limited housing stock they build as it pits working class people to fight over limited housing stock they build. The mortgagee then owes money to both the bank and the government.
The desperation to get on the housing ladder and the restricted options have led to scams like the leasehold ground rent scandal that was exposed last summer. It emerged that 100,000 people were trapped in leasehold contracts in which the ground rent doubled every 10 years, meaning big money for developers and homeowners left with crippling fees and homes shunned by mortgage-lenders.
Another scheme that companies are using is the leasehold building which every ten years doubles the ground rent leaving people unable to sell their house as nobody wants to pay the rising ground rent, making people prisoners in their own homes.
The Labour party in its 2017 manifesto promised to cap rents with inflation to help people to save for a deposit for a house. Today it takes an average of 19 years to save for a deposit on a property.
When thirty somethings turn forty they will spend more than three days commuting to work than their parents- this is because housing prices usually are cheaper the further out of certain cities in the UK, one of the issues further to having a longer commute is the rising cost in season tickets for trains- another thing labour promised to do was to re-nationalise the railways to make this cheaper so people can save money for a house.
From 2004 to 2014, the number of council houses fell from 2.5 million to 1.7 million as a result of the Right to Buy scheme. As was warned by opponents of the scheme, this hasn’t led to increased home ownership (which has remained constant at 14.7 million in this same period) but in privately-rented accommodated which rose from 2.5 million to 4.5 million.
It has become increasingly hard to get a council house and many people are forced to live in emergency accommodation for years before they are provided with somewhere suitable. Council housing has gone from a genuine option for many people to the recourse of only the most vulnerable.
Labour have promised to build council houses, cap private rents and tackle homelessness and executive bonuses. Let’s make sure they do.