Meanwhile, the Tory’s more recent 'affordable' starter homes programme kicks off in 2017. But Shelter points out that these “affordable homes” will cost up to £450,000! No doubt the perverse results will be the same. READ ON...
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" (Romeo & Juliet, Act2 Scene2).
Juliet's assertion applies both ways. A rip-off by any other name still stinks. You might think the 'affordable housing' policy is aimed at those who find it hard to afford their housing. There you would be right. You might think that the policy is aimed at people on low and modest incomes (e.g. nurses on £25k, firemen on £23k). There you would be wrong. After all, however much money you have there is always something that costs just a bit more than you can afford (think yacht, football club, income tax).
The sell-off of social housing in London starting in 1979 with the Tories' "Right to buy" scheme, rolled on virtually uninterrupted through the Labour government of 1997-2010, and continued into the Con-Dem coalition from 2010.
The original 'right' to buy at a considerable discount to market value (the discount was increased to up to £100,000 discount in London and £75,000 in the rest of the country in March 2013) was given specifically to public sector tenants. However this has been an open invitation to speculators entering into 'deferred purchase' agreements, where the council tenant has been the middleman - exercising his right to buy, and then selling on to private landlords both individuals and companies. A report by the Daily Mirror newspaper exposed the extent to which council housing has been taken over by private landlords:
"A Daily Mirror investigation found a third of ex-council homes sold in the 1980s under Margaret Thatcher were now owned by private landlords. In one London borough almost half of ex-council properties are now sub-let to tenants."
This opportunity to turn a profit is particularly succulent in London, where rents are literally streets ahead of anywhere else in the UK.