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The Independent gets it wrong but also right

Sunday, October 9, 2016 12:24
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In an article spotted by Lola, the Indie tries to get to the bottom of what is causing Britain’s “housing crisis”.

However, setting on one side that fact that there is no housing crisis, there is just a lack of cheap housing in expensive places, they do a good job of bringing up all the usual suspects as the the cause of high house prices: I’d recommend you read the article, but if you’ve not got time, the defendants in the dock are Maggie Thatcher, foreigners, BTL landlords, NIMBYs, CPRE, house builders (by which I think they mean developers aka speculators), banks, George Osborne, the law and councils. The Indie puts the finger on councils, CPRE and NIMBYs.

So that’s a double fail, firstly for ignoring the effect of 500 year low interest rates and secondly for subscribing to the land-bankers’ myth that building more houses will make them cheaper. So, just the usual mainstream media output you might think, until you get onto the section “Solutions”.

Again, all the widely touted solutions are here: rent controls, mansion tax, confiscate land from house builders (by which they mean the speculators once again), relax the planning laws, protect tenants, then at No 6, impose LVT, which is a bit of a surprise. They then round off with ban multiple home ownership, subsidise mortgages, help housing associations to borrow more and build more houses. Full marks to the Indie for awarding five stars to LVT, but minus points for awarding the same to “build more houses”.

Still, for something written in 2014, it’s pretty refreshing.


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