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Will cash incentives solve housing problems?

08:45 UK time, Monday, 9 August 2010

Extra money could be given to councils in England to encourage the building of more new homes. Is this a good idea?

Under the New Homes Bonus scheme the government will match the council tax raised on each new house for six years. Housing Minister Grant Shapps said action was needed as home building was at its lowest levels since the 1920s.

Critics say the cost could run into billions and make it harder for local communities to block construction.

Should councils be given extra money for building new homes? What are the pros and cons of this idea? Does your community need new homes?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


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  • Comment number 1.

    The Government recently estimated that 40% of new homes would be occupied by immigrants. Rather than concreting over our countryside we need to cut the number of immigrants coming to this country and deport all illegal immigrants.

  • Comment number 2.

    There is no need to build more council houses.

    Just kick out the people who can afford their own homes.

  • Comment number 3.

    Absolutely not, it is a gimmick! What is needed is to charge the whole market for social housing, by chraging market rents backed by benefit payable where unaffordable by the tenents AND tenent agreements on the same basis as the private housing sector, not to mention the need to re-house tenents as their housing needs charge (downsizing) and the nonsense that allows existing tenents to pass on to their children their social housing. In short far greater flexibility in the housing market to make it more attractive to councils and developers to build housing.

  • Comment number 4.

    Of course we need more public housing. My partner applied in January for a house as he was kicked out of his by his parents for being made reduant and not paying housekeeping! They as yet still have not called him and asked him about his points even. He is homeless and thay are not willing to help. (I am at university and so he cannot stay in my room with me as against the rules).

    You just have to look in Bbelfast to see how much Private housing is being built and staying empty.

    Still will need to keep complaining as these measures are only for England.

  • Comment number 5.

    Where I grew up in Birmingham, B44 8AX, my parents and all the neighbours in the parallel streets had huge gardens. Fenced either side by privet. These houses were built in 1932 on the Gough- Calthorpe estate at Perry Barr. If you examine their footprint via google earth you will see how much land was wasted, and how in the 21st century we could build bigger more energy efficient houses within the same areas of land.

  • Comment number 6.

    No, I don't support this policy. I would prefer to see the VAT on renovations reduced or cancelled altogether. At present it is of benefit to builders and homeowners to bulldoze perfectly viable houses and rebuild because it works out cheaper than repairing Victorian buildings, or converting large redundant properties into multiple occupancy appartments. The resulting houses are nasty, poorly constructed, crammed too close together and take longer to finish than the repairs would have. Encouraging the construction of more unsuitable homes will not help build happy communities.

  • Comment number 7.

    Is this new money any relation to the old money my local council were told they could have to improve the infrastructure which has now been taken away? Be warned in politics dirty is the clean word!
    Incidentally we are already learning that our warnings about traffic and the need for infrastructure are coming horribly true!

  • Comment number 8.

    I listened to the interview with some minister on the today programme this morning about this, he talked about waiting lists - so this must mean "social" housing - as someone who works hard and pays a mortgage living in hampshire, I am delighted that the government is going to try and build more homes for those who cannot be bothered to work and then, of course, give them the option later to buy the property for 3p making them instantly wealthy - I thought labour were out of power? Furthermore, they should be targetting building these homes up north not in the south east and encouraging businesses to be less london centric - it is already too overcrowded where I live.

  • Comment number 9.

    Extra money could be given to councils in England to encourage the building of more new homes. Is this a good idea?


    WHAT extra money, how can there FACTUALLY be ANY extra MONEY when government is CUTTING BACK £150BILLION.

    With councils budgets being SUBSTANTIALLY/SERIOUSLY cut, there will just NOT be the money for investing in new homes.

    What this is ACTUALLY about, combined with new relaxation of housing/planning is that councils desperate for a few quid, will basically allow house building more or less anywhere, just so they can get some extra cash to make up for all the cuts.

    Basically if you have a person, take away 50% of the food needed to sustain them, then say to them, if you mash up the countryside, we will give you more money, for 6 years upon completion of every mash up.

    Councils are being manipulated, PURE AND SIMPLE.


    FIRST you get mashed with the stick, then you have the carrots to ensure/enforce you to CONFORM to new TORY/LIB DEM policy/strategy.

    It actually reminds me of how the Nazis operated in Germany, with the Lib Dems being the little Mussolini's tagging along for the ride, for a little bit of power.

    This coalition is NOT as PRETTY as it pretends to be.

  • Comment number 10.

    I found that a lot of council owned properties were not being living in by the people who should. I.E They had been sublet by their tennant or were being used as a Giro drop. And the house was unnoccupied except for a few sticks of furniture

  • Comment number 11.

    Those who already have homes (im alright jack) dont want any more houses/neighbours at any price = PS men dont wear pink

  • Comment number 12.

    No matter how much money is available, there is sensibly no room for more houses - the country is already a hell to live in. We need to get rid of buildings not add to the problem.

  • Comment number 13.

    So long as that extra cash encourages local councils to develop on existing, unused sites such as abandoned warehouses and closed schools.

    Our local councils tendency to waste space is annoying, to say the least.

  • Comment number 14.

    You know what is so sad about this? Building affordable housing is a way out of our deepest darkest financial nightmare by helping the 'classes' who need the most help in so many ways, jobs, material, relief from poor life styles, and money flowing into the economy.

    And yet the pathetic political attitudes of three decades continue with 'tinkering', sound bites, and hype. Is that all politicians are reduced to as the clip their noses from their own stench?

    The lowest building rate since 1924? Was it really passionately discussed in Westminster - ever?

  • Comment number 15.

    I wonder, what houses will be built in the NICEST places, with the NICEST scenery.

    Will it be affordable cheapo flats/houses for low paid earners/workers/people, or will it be swanky high priced homes for the rich and elite.

    With more and more people ACTUALLY/FACTUALLY being FORCED to ACCEPT LOW PAID jobs, part time jobs, tempory jobs, and with MOST of the coming cuts due to effect over 1 million peoplem WHO EXACTLY is GOING TO AFFORD these new homes.

    THe DIRT/FILTH is clearly in the OPEN and it sticks to this Tory/Lib Dim policy like a particular type of muck to a shovel, and also smells as bad.

  • Comment number 16.

    All new council tennants should sign up to agreements whereby their rents are linked to their wages, and that they are not entitled to stay for life.

    Council houses are in short supply and people shouldn't think of them as a place for life - council house blockers need to be moved on.

    For 20 years there's not been enough built so this can only be a step in the right direction.

  • Comment number 17.

    The deliberate decision to prevent councils using the receipts from council house sales to fund new housing has led to this situation.
    The 30 year experiment in a market solution to the provision of housing has clearly failed.
    There are 1.8 million people on council house waiting lists, the average price of a house is £220k the average wage is £20k, private rents are matched to mortgage payments, someone on the minimum wage £12k is never going to be able to buy a house.
    Why do people think local councils began building houses in the first place?
    Decent housing at an affordable rent was not available in the 19th Century and we are returning to the same situation now in the 21st.
    The private sector will not provide affordable housing to those on low incomes, the solution is to allow councils to build houses for rent only.

  • Comment number 18.

    No. We have a new block of flats near us with no parking - depending upon the type of housing, the rule is apparently to allow 1.5 or .75 parking spaces per property. Shops are losing trade because customers cannot park because residents are occupying the spaces.

    Now the minutes from the council meeting have been requested to see why this happened.

    How much money changed hands there?

    There needs to be much more thought about where any new housing should be. Pound signs are the wrong incentive.

  • Comment number 19.

    Is this policy a reaction to the fact that even many Tory MPs will not be able to afford own their own houses if house prices continue to rise at excessive rates PURELY because the market is MASSIVELY failing to provide enough housing to meet demand.

    Maybe we really need a decent war which involves at least 1 million UK men/women trained as soldiers.

    That way, government will TOTALLY panic as in after WWI & WWII & come up with MAJOR MAJOR appeasement policys because they are so paranoid about having 1 million full military trained and highly experienced people on the streets, running around angry because life is so unfair/unjust/unbalanced.

  • Comment number 20.

    The way things go round in circles like this is bonkers!

    But it probably only part of the solution. Reclaiming viable empty buildings and converting them them should be looked in to.

  • Comment number 21.

    There are many hundreds of thousands of houses and flats just left empty year after year in UK. If a domestic property is left empty for over 5 years then the Local Authority should be legally entitled to purchase it at the going rate from whoever owns it. (Some exemptions could be made for valid reasons.

    Houses should be for living in and not for speculators to make huge profits or just left MT for no reason. This will then free up these houses/flats for Council letting.

    It's not the whole answer but it would help, especially in big cities.

  • Comment number 22.

    We dont want loads of houses being built everywhere complete nonsense as usual ; get rid of all the llegal immigrants and wasters then there would not be a problem

  • Comment number 23.

    There are over 650,000 empty homes in England, most of them privately owned. Why do we need to build any more?

  • Comment number 24.

    Of course it is a good idea, firstly it will give some people in the construction industry a chance of a job, secondly it will provide a chance of housing for those of us in the construction industry not lucky enough to have a job who will inevitably have our houses auctioned by the banks!

    Of course priority will be given to those with the most points - ie those who have never paid a penny of tax in this country!

  • Comment number 25.

    If it wasn't for the Right to Buy scheme there probably wouldn't be this problem in the first place.

    Thanks to the Tories, millions of council homes were sold by their occupants, so no wonder there is now a deficit.

  • Comment number 26.

    Some London boroughs have housing waiting lists the size of a small town. We do not need to pepper the country with new build. I suggest that we use up existing unused sites and empty spaces above shops. Although I realise it often costs more to convert than build from scratch.
    I'm afraid there are just too many people jostling for oxygen on our small island. Too many demands for roads, water, schools, hospitals and so on. Conditions can only deteriorate especially with all the cut-backs. I'm talking here of Space, not Race. It is already unpleasantly overcrowded in many place.
    I suppose we could always build over the Lake District or Dartmoor. If it ever comes to that our quality of life is doomed. I wish we could please everyone with a spanking new home, but we can't. Common sense seems to have fallen by the wayside.

  • Comment number 27.

    One has to fully appreciate that the cost to maintain council properties is not funded purely by the Rent raised. A proportion of the General Council tax is used. So in some cases people struggling to Rent Privately or buy their first property, are subserdising council house tennants. It is laughable that a thrifty couple in a small house or flat are paying to maintain a home occupied by wealthier people in a council home. I walk around several council estates everyday. You see some absolutely fabulous cars, Caravans, and Motorhomes parked outside. Also at night you can see some really smashing stadium sized Plasma televisions. I feel really proud that I have helped these people achieve this standard of living.Its about time we all came down to earth with reality. People should not be living in social housing if they can afford to buy their own properties.

  • Comment number 28.

    Keep new council houses away from decent areas.

  • Comment number 29.

    If this is true and there is a plan to give councils money to build council houses then at long last we will have had a good idea from this incompetent coalition government.
    It was Thatchers government that did the damage to the housing market back in the 80s by selling off the council houses and never replacing the ones that were sold.
    I wish that Labour when in power had been quicker to redress this disasterous policy which means that young couples starting out today have virtually no chance of getting a place of their own unless they are rich or pay exorbitant rental prices to private landlords.

  • Comment number 30.

    So, more houses to be built eh? And will these developers also be required to build the new roads, rail, shops, schools, pubs and libraries to support these extra people. Will they be providing new doctors surgeries, dentists and bus stops? No. They will build their gerry built shoeboxes on poor land with no garden and expect the local council to provide all the infrastructure whilst they make off with the profits. Why do we put up with this nonsense? The problem is that all good jobs and employment opportunities are in the South East of England, where there is massive housing pressure. Until a Government (including Labour because they did nothing about this) start to encourage big business to relocate around the country, especially areas like Wales and Scotland, then this will not improve. We need to move people away from crowded areas and into areas with plenty of cheap land to build on. The government should be buying the land now, cheaply. The businesses could be tempted away via tax benefits. And one other thing. Can we please have some decent standards for housing. I live in a 1930's house. It is absolutely rock solid. These modern shoeboxes are built with the cheapest quality materials going. The Government should be setting a minimum standard for new homes that is far higher than the current standard, including number and size of rooms, garden area etc.

  • Comment number 31.

    A few years ago I read that my local authority controlled 30,000 houses/flats of which 10,000 required repair. They sold off all their properties to private (charity) housing association and have carried out a vigorous policy of pulling down some of the worst housing in the area.

    A lot of new (so-called 'student') accomodation has been built, mainly flats, all looking very pleasant.

    Trouble is what happens after a couple of years, will the new tennants have the 'right-to-buy' and make a quick killing in the property market?

    My local authority looks upon council housing as a millstone around their necks, and they are an old-labour council in the North East! I spoke to the chairman of the housing sub-committe 25 years ago about a development on the towns major sink estate. He commented that we shouldn't waste more money on such estates as they NEVER thrive.

    If there is money in cheap affordable housing, then get the land released and let them build. However I think this is an illusion, why build two properties, to be rented, that cost £200,000 when a builder on the same area of land can build one property that sells for £250,000?

    The planning rules could be made simpler to allow building to start, provided they stopped building 'executive' properties.

    PS if we are so short of money that we are proposing stopping free milk for under-5s why can we afford this?

  • Comment number 32.

    The problem could be solved by withdrawing from the EU, then closing our borders. Simple - job done.

  • Comment number 33.

    2. At 09:05am on 09 Aug 2010, bill wrote:

    There is no need to build more council houses.

    Just kick out the people who can afford their own homes.

    That is a good point. I'm confused by the recent outcry over proposals to remove the right to a 'council house for life'. Surely people's situations change over their lifetime? What if they win the lottery - are they still allowed to live in the council house?

  • Comment number 34.

    Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, wants to incentivise Councils to build new homes. By implication, does the Minister want more Council houses? If he can't express that phrase - why not - would it stick in the throat perhaps?

    Furthermore, is the Housing Minister aware of swathes of empty homes and unfinished new build developments caused by the banking crisis? It would be cheaper, surely, to support Councils to buy those?

    Would it not be commonsense for Mr Shapps to educate himself on what housing is already there, yet unoccupied, rather than behave like a Labour new initiative Minister? Bring yourself up to speed Mr Shapps, or question your advisory staff? Perhaps ask them to ring around hundreds of local authorities who know of thousands of empty properties?
    Just a thought ...?

  • Comment number 35.

    Extra money from where? Houses to be built where?

    If it's urban regeneration and redeveloped brown field then OK. If it's greenbelt then no thank you.

    We've got to start thinking about the size of the population. People just don't seem to be hearing how serious the overpopulation problem is going to get worldwide and at home.

    England is a small country with very limited resources. We're already way past the point where we can feed ourselves or supply ourselves with electricity or even water.

    What are we going to do? Keep building till the whole country is one big urban sprawl?

    What England needs is its own English parliament back. A parliament hat puts the interests of the people of England first.

    The British government continues to sell England very short in terms of funding and democracy.

    And why are Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs still influencing English policy? I'm mainly talking about the 15 or so Scottish Lib Dems who will be ramming the ConDems cuts agenda down English throats.

    English solutions to English problems.

  • Comment number 36.

    Surely if they were to stop immigration and rid our land of all illegal immigrants, we would not need so much housing to be built.

  • Comment number 37.

    Its really not rocket science and its about time some preferential treatment was given to the people of this country. I am sick to the back teeth of home ownership consistently being beyond my reach.

    1, Removal of all illegal immigrants, foreign criminals (released but not deported) failed asylum seekers from the country. They all have to live somewhere and often are occupying a property that could be a home to a British family.

    2, Limited ownership of properties for buy to let purposes.

    3, Sale of properties to non-British citizens to be illegalized, or where the British citizen is permanent resident in overseas country.

    4, Evict and fine all those who have council flats and are subletting these properties.

    5, I would recommend suspending taxes on any residential development that seeks to re-energize a former residential area. I have seen the pictures of large numbers of terraced homes up north just left to rot. Any company willing to redevelop these areas for residential purposes should be free from tax contributions on the work taken to achieve this, so as to encourage re-growth and interest in area.

    I really don't give a monkeys if people think that my comments are discriminatory in anyway, especially point one. How can it be right, in any sane society that the indigenous people of that country (of which I am one) can not afford to buy a home. Its just not right and is yet another stab in the back from the stoned and selfish 60's generation. To selfish to bear any thought for future generations.

    My word, what a hash they have made of this country!

  • Comment number 38.

    Thatcher made the councils sell their housing stock off to their tenants, preventing them from investing the proceeds into new stock.

    The rise in house prices and massive shortage of housing stock is part of the legacy of that, I suspect.

    Massive investment in social housing can only be a good thing, but it must be of the right kind. Get the housebuilding industry going.

  • Comment number 39.

    In central London, among other places, there is an unintended consequence of the council housing sell off in the 80's, which is a dire shortage of affordable housing for some critical workers, such as nurses, teachers, cleaners and others. I personally don't have a problem with people being allowed to buy their council houses & apartments, but the big mistake was not letting the councils invest the money in new housing stock at the time. That's what should have happened, and it's not too late to do something about it now, so what are they waiting for?

  • Comment number 40.

    Thought we(Britain) are supposed to be skint/near bankruptcy.

    Must be other priorities than proping up the housing market.

  • Comment number 41.

    There are hundreds of people homeless to the lack of enough social housing, and why is there this problem in the UK, the cause was the right to buy policy of the Tory government of the 1980s, this meant that a council tenant could buy their house with a discount for the number of years that they had been a tenant, however councils were not allow to build new housing stock with the revenue from the sale of these houses, the building of new social housing will go a long way in solving the homeless question, plus remove the right to buy policy,

  • Comment number 42.

    Myself and my family live in what one would call "social housing" owned and administered by a local housing association. I would personally welcome plans for an incentive to build more social housing, however I feel that this would need to be coupled with a much fairer system for the allocation of these homes and a proper enforcement of tenancy agreements.

  • Comment number 43.

    The real problems are...

    1. Over population relative to available resources (millions unemployed while similar numbers of immigrants require homes)

    2. Excessive wealth leading to house price inflation (eg: many homes are worth more than double the cost to build)

    3. Second homes and the demise of rural economies.

    Building a relatively small number of council houses won't make much difference.

  • Comment number 44.

    All these gimmicks won’t make the slightest difference all the time we allow our population to grow at its current rate.

    And as for Tory boy Dave who promised us a referendum on the EU and now pushes for Turkey to join, where does he plan to house the obvious countless thousands that will come to the land of milk of honey if that were allowed to happen ?????.

  • Comment number 45.

    The Torys have decided to legally steal peoples money in "dorment" bank accounts.

    Well, why not also legally steal houses which are "dormant" / empty, of which there is more than enough to reduce housing shortages by a VERY significant amount.

    Thing is, like the milk issue, it is a vote loser, hence VOTES are worth MORE than values/morality/decency, basically whats RIGHT.

    Government steal everything else, via trumped up legalisations which are basically a state/governing rule/ability to permit government to do what it likes to who it likes, when it likes, such as legally steal more taxes from ordinary people to pay for damage caused by banks and politicians.

  • Comment number 46.

    Should councils be given extra money to build traditional new homes? No.
    I think it would be a good idea to create mobile home sites in areas where there are job opportunities. These homes would serve as stepping stones towards buying private traditional homes when the family becomes financially viable.

  • Comment number 47.

    No thanks, none in my neck of the woods please. Its very pleasant around here, council house chavs rather lower the tone.

  • Comment number 48.

    This is Council Housing & Sink Estates all over again, we don't need it, thank you. People should learn to value their homes & this they can do only if they own & pay for it.

  • Comment number 49.

    25. At 09:39am on 09 Aug 2010, RedandYellowandGreennotBlue wrote:
    If it wasn't for the Right to Buy scheme there probably wouldn't be this problem in the first place.

    Thanks to the Tories, millions of council homes were sold by their occupants, so no wonder there is now a deficit.


    If these people did not buy their homes.....they would still be living in their homes as still does not free them up to anyone.
    Blame the looney lefties that have let thousands upon thousands of people with no where to house them.....Still they are more likely to vote Labour, so it dont really matter does it ?

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    25. At 09:39am on 09 Aug 2010, RedandYellowandGreennotBlue wrote:

    If it wasn't for the Right to Buy scheme there probably wouldn't be this problem in the first place.

    Thanks to the Tories, millions of council homes were sold by their occupants, so no wonder there is now a deficit.


    In your statement against the tory you have 100% stated that labour were completely useless and ineffective. 13 years and one of the best booms and yet labour left our country in debt and (as you state) un-fixed.

    More development is needed but on brownfield sites. Leaving the nice land alone and concentrating on rebuilding the wrecks would be a huge improvement.

    And while all the violent, anti-freespeech, hate-filled mob will shout this idea down, maybe we should remove illegal immigrants and pause sections of immigration based on our capacity and resources. Once britian is back on its feet and the people here now are in a better situation we can open the borders again

  • Comment number 52.

    If you want to help cure the country's social housing problems and help cure benefit dependancy the there are three things you can do.
    1. Let councils build, renovate and let their own properties.
    2. Close Housing Associations and return their housing stock to local authority control.
    3. Allow all the MOD housing properties which are standing delapidated and empty to be given to local authorities.
    Investment in these areas and the removal of Housing Asociations, their overpaid non executive directors and exorbitant rents would help the working people and then unemployedmove in to and retain employment.

  • Comment number 53.

    45. At 10:43am on 09 Aug 2010, MrWonderfulReality wrote:
    The Torys have decided to legally steal peoples money in "dorment" bank accounts.
    I'd just like to point out that firstly, this law was introduced by labour. It appeared in their manifesto in 2005 and was introduced as law 3 years later. Secondly I'd like to point out the following clause:

    "Account holders who discover the existence of a dormant account in their name in future will still be able to claim the funds, even if the money has already been given to the Big Society Bank."

  • Comment number 54.

    we don't need more developers sorry MPs creating more slums

  • Comment number 55.

    they could allow councils to keep the rent and rates they collect ,and let them build houses for rent only .
    many young couple would have chance to set up a home of their own ,and live as a family .

  • Comment number 56.

    Its got to be the best sort of humour around. Mrs Thatcher sold every decent house in the public sector stock for peanuts. Freinds who live in a rural hamelet bought their 3 bed semi circa 1990 for £7k Today its worth £270k simply because of location. Fortunate enough to have been allocated a nice home in a nice area they were able to own it at the cost of a pittance. Equal Opportiunity anyone?
    Now the same Tory mob are going to give our money up to Councils to build more public sector affordable housing (particularly in rural areas?) so I figure I have subsidised all these people who now have a better home than me at knock down prices.
    It gets even better because those who bought council houses with high alumina cement or sectional construction etc since had a choice to sell it back (years later) to the Council at market value (they made a profit!) or the Council would at a cost of 1000's do all work to bring the property up to spec.
    You couldn't make it up. I don't know if the tears are laughter or crying.

  • Comment number 57.

    "One has to fully appreciate that the cost to maintain council properties is not funded purely by the Rent raised. A proportion of the General Council tax is used. So in some cases people struggling to Rent Privately or buy their first property, are subserdising council house tennants."
    Completely untrue, the Thatcher government removed all subsidies from Council Tenants and forced Councils to ring fence their housing budgets preventing them from using other revenue for housing purposes. The Tories purpose was to move housing provision from the public sector to the private sector. They have largely succeeded and all political parties now follow the market solution to housing.
    This Tory proposal of fixed term tenure for council tenants is another US social policy model, so beloved by our political classes, the effect in the US has been to create ghettos of the poor, people there will not take even a low-paid job as the immediate effect is eviction from their home and being forced onto the high priced private rental market.
    This is typical right-wing thinking, their Right-To-Buy policy has created a housing shortage for the low-paid and unemployed, the number of council houses for rent is a finite number , the numbers of people who just cannot afford private sector rents let alone house purchase is rising, the right being idealogically opposed to public sector solutions are now proposing to penalise the public sector tenant, preferring to make them homeless rather than address the problem their dogma has created.

  • Comment number 58.

    5. At 09:15am on 09 Aug 2010, Mad Max and Satan Dog Paddy wrote:

    Where I grew up in Birmingham, B44 8AX, my parents and all the neighbours in the parallel streets had huge gardens. Fenced either side by privet. These houses were built in 1932 on the Gough- Calthorpe estate at Perry Barr. If you examine their footprint via google earth you will see how much land was wasted, and how in the 21st century we could build bigger more energy efficient houses within the same areas of land.


    I just took a peek via Google Earth, and I have to say, that on first looks, it appears to be a pleasant enough area - with dual carriageway & plenty of parks to walk Paddy in. I think it would be a shame to lose all that garden space, because one of the things we, as humans crave, is quality of life, and a good sized garden is a part of that.

  • Comment number 59.

    It's better than making people homeless (like america)

  • Comment number 60.

    We need to build one bedroom studio flats reflecting the change in demographics - their size will make them affordable.

    Then send home the illegals to free up housing, stop the automatic transfer of council houses to offspring, introduce downsizing (to the studio flats) for those whose families have grown up and review housing need for council tenants every 5 years.

    Providing mortgages from the public purse would be a better way of moving forward - are you listening RBS?

  • Comment number 61.

    If a house is empty for 2 years, just give tax incentive to carry out work to bring it upto occupancy standard, or enforce a tax penalty for it remaining dormant. Do this policy over 2 to 5 years and it will also HUGELY increase employment in this area and also sales of kitchens/bathrooms etc etc etc.

    There is a HUGE opportunity out there to create employment, reduce trashed/empty propertys, reduce housing shortages, stabilise house prices via bringing more propertys onto the market.

    The thing with this new Tory housing policy, is that it will MAINLY and ESSENTIALLY result in high end housing being able to be built in beautiful places, while the lower end gets the natural flood plains and grassed over poisoned industrial sites and old school/hospital/military land.

  • Comment number 62.

    Why should we give councils more money. All the councils will do is spend it on unnecessary beaurocrats excessive pay and pensions, and ways to cut services. Set performance targets and make the councils balance their books.

  • Comment number 63.

    Good idea if it stops the English white settlers migrating to Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Spain. Where you are no longer welcome.

  • Comment number 64.

    25. At 09:39am on 09 Aug 2010, RedandYellowandGreennotBlue wrote:
    If it wasn't for the Right to Buy scheme there probably wouldn't be this problem in the first place.

    Thanks to the Tories, millions of council homes were sold by their occupants, so no wonder there is now a deficit.

    The "the Right to Buy" scheme wasn't the problem, it was that the cash raised couldn't be re-invested in new council houses. You can initially blame the Conservative governments for this, but as Labour did not reverse it they can't take the moral high ground.

  • Comment number 65.

    Perhaps social housing could be used more wisely. Low paid workers need to be housed close to their place of work. Perhaps these people should be given preference on housing lists in big cities. After all, the can work, won't work brigade could be housed anywhere. Also, limiting the size of social housing units might prevent some overpopulation. After all, can many workers afford 4 and 5 bedroom homes!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    So many MUPPETS on here.

    Its NOT about building loads of council or housing association estates. NO council has the money for that, nor even housing associations, if they had the money they would be doing it already, so dont be such a muppet and complain about something that is NOT going to happen.

    AS mentioned in my previous comments, its SOLELY about opening up land to build executive homes on. Land in NICE places, with nice views, land which is currently protected. Do you really think such land will be made available to 100, 200, 500 new cheap lego houses or will 6 or 12 new executive houses be built.

    Communitys may have a bit of say, do you think that most of the nice little comfortable picturesque villages will apply for low priced low value houses to blot their landscapes. Don't be so ridiculous.

    Do you think smaller villages will be more inclined to build cheap housing or housing of a higher prestige, quality and value and maintain their nice little elite communitys which have already mainly pushed out the local "rif raf" due to unaffordability.

    This policy, is basically a land snatch for the elite.

  • Comment number 67.

    This scheme does not encourage exploring the many empty properties which can be developed at a cheaper cost and for greater benefits - for example flats above shops. There are clear advantages to the shop owner, added security for one. Many first time buyers will be happy to live in town centers so will be happy with this arrangment.

    The scheme also will encourage councils to build more higher council tax banded properties. It does not encourage councils to match the housing needs of the communities.

  • Comment number 68.

    No, we don't need more homes, we need less people. That includes immigrants and those selfish enough to breed with express intention of being given a bigger house.

  • Comment number 69.

    The astonishing thing about public housing is the qualifications needed to be awarded one. I know of a 17 year old boy who has committed many crimes, been in care and then given a publicly-funded flat. Families of illegal immigrants are given housing benefit to live in comfortable houses in fashionable areas but hard working singletons and couples haven't a hope in hell of getting a Housing Association or council house.

    There clearly is a need to encourage more affordable housing but the qualifications for getting it should be tightened up

  • Comment number 70.

    Depends on where the new houses are to be built.
    If its on greenfield sites then no way.
    If its on the site of old factories and older housing estates that look like a post nuclear winter wasteland then go for it.
    Needs to be some safeguards though; we don't want councils skimping on basic planning requirements for new development so they get their 6 years bonus.

  • Comment number 71.

    49. At 10:49am on 09 Aug 2010, Creamfresh wrote:
    "If these people did not buy their homes.....they would still be living in their homes as tennants...."

    Whilst I admit that council tenant turnover is low, there is, nevertheless, some turnover which has got to be better than taking properties out of the system altogether?


    51. At 10:53am on 09 Aug 2010, in_the_uk wrote:
    25. At 09:39am on 09 Aug 2010, RedandYellowandGreennotBlue wrote:
    "In your statement against the tory you have 100% stated that labour were completely useless and ineffective."

    Did I? Can't find where I said that?

    "More development is needed but on brownfield sites. Leaving the nice land alone and concentrating on rebuilding the wrecks would be a huge improvement."

    Yes, absolutely. It's just a shame that it has come to this.

  • Comment number 72.

    Am I correct in thinking that there are plenty of empty neglected MOD properties.

    To answer No 5, locally the older council houses have been knocked down and more have been built on the same sites, more houses than previously but with smaller gardens.

    My local town does have shop premises with accomodation above but because many of these are owned by a company, the tenant of the shop is not allowed to sublet the area above.

  • Comment number 73.

    Agree with post #52 'Shillo'. Indeed, Housing Assocations have been, for too long, and still ARE, the weakest and most expensive link in the chain of affordable buy/rent and affording rents? Goodbye! Wink?

  • Comment number 74.

    At 09:04am on 09 Aug 2010, grainsofsand wrote:

    Agreed!! As usual the dumb (and getting dumber UK population) have accepted the myth that in order to sustain this fantastically large and impressive world-classs economy, it is important - oh so very important - to suck in as many immigrants in need of housing as you can squeeze into the cities. When will the UK leaders get wise to the idea that it is not really the size of a nation's economy that counts but rather the quality of life that it affords its citizens. Norway has impressive social housing schemes but is a small economy in terms of its ranking in overall world GDP's; India on the other hand has very little to offer its poor and yet has a largish GDP. The London borough in which I live has 60% uptake of social housing by immigrants or by first generation immigrants. Thanks for opening this can of worms BBC.

  • Comment number 75.

    "Does your community need new homes?" (HYS):
    As I understand it, there is a NATIONWIDE shortage of state housing - ESPECIALLY since Labour came to power.

    So here we go again - having to 'close the stable door - AFTER the horse has bolted' - thanks to Labour 'WILFULLY' allowing mass, unfettered immigration and failing to increase our Housing Infrastructure to cater for it...
    Since there is SUCH a shortage of Housing (and other infrastructure)- why has immigration not been TOTALLY stopped - until we can house the people we ALREADY have here?
    EVERY day that goes by, increases the strain on our 'shrinking' ifrastructure. This problem can NEVER be solved until we close the doors and 'catch-up'.

    Councils will HAVE to put State-housebuilding at the top of their list of 'needs', if we EVER want this Country to get 'back on it's feet'.

    Otherwise - this Country has only ONE way to go - DOWN - without a doubt!

  • Comment number 76.

    5. At 09:15am on 09 Aug 2010, Mad Max and Satan Dog Paddy wrote:
    Where I grew up in Birmingham, B44 8AX, my parents and all the neighbours in the parallel streets had huge gardens. Fenced either side by privet. These houses were built in 1932 on the Gough- Calthorpe estate at Perry Barr. If you examine their footprint via google earth you will see how much land was wasted
    These and many similar gardens were not wasted at all. They were a planned contingency for national self-sufficiency in times of war and blockade. They more than played their part in WW2 being turned over to food production in the "Dig for Victory" policy. Those owned by people with something about them continue to be used beneficially, whether for recreational gardening or growing fresh produce. In my view a country comprised of residential land used for dwellings and car parking only would not be worth living in. Although I did not vote for this government I am delighted they have classified gardens as greenfield sites to prevent their general use for building.

  • Comment number 77.

    Knowing some councils.... I'd rather the councils sent the government the bill before payment.

    Yeah lets build more Councils houses why not and hand em' free to all and sundry who comes from abroad, good thinking that and since it's only one 1 in 10 mothers are white and British having babies as claimed, certainly a good idea.

  • Comment number 78.

    As long as we're not talking about the new breed of "Affordable" housing then fine.

    The problem with all the "affordable" housing schemes is that they want to build low-quality high-density bedsits, and sell them at the rate that people in the UK *should* be paying for a small family home.

    It's all a ploy to continue to support the UK's housing market, which has become extremely distorted in favour of those that already own property and is now out of reach of the young. And no, it's not the same as it ever was and this isn't just a complaint that I would have to save for a few years. Look at the price of housing compared to income. The former has risen massively out of proportion to the latter.

    Somehow the UK market needs a correction, but because of the large number of people who think they would stand to lose, it won't happen. Cheaper houses would be good for everyone except the banks.

  • Comment number 79.

    Councils show be given some incentives in bringing redundant/unoccupied houses and old factory sites back into occupation before more green fields are built on. Our towns and cities are littered with empty properties that could easily provide accommodation for those on the waiting list.

    Our small rural village has grown by 50 properties in the last 20 years or so and it has got to the point now where water/waste facilities need upgrading but the water authority claim they have got the funds for this extensive works.

  • Comment number 80.

    Housing has been treated like a commodity for too long.
    It has been traded and invested over the past 50 years as if it is not a basic necessity. Through (artificially limited) supply and (obvious) demand, the house prices have shot through the roof.

    Compare House Prices to wages 50 years ago, and compare them now.

    This is the housing problem.
    Most people would be able to Afford a house, if the house price was reasonable.

    The global recession caused by bad mortgages? Would never have of happened if houses were kept affordable. It happened because house prices hit a ceiling.

  • Comment number 81.

    This “new homes bonus scheme” is a drop in the ocean. Simply the latest ineffectual patch for a completely mismanaged housing system. There is a fundamental mismatch between the supply and demand for housing.

    On the supply side the planning system, building regulations etc. constrain supply and give a bonanza to every landowner who can obtain planning permission. The obligation on developers to provide a proportion of affordable housing on every development site is a cost which is simply passed on to private buyers of new housing.

    On the demand side the government has allowed in three million immigrants since 1997, urged on by “business” which makes no contribution to the cost of providing schools, housing etc. for their cheap labour. Housing Benefit is available for every family producing children they can’t afford to house. We have a social housing system which keeps on providing large homes (at subsidised rents) for couples whose children have long flown the nest.

    If you are in a hole, stop digging!

  • Comment number 82.

    63. At 11:10am on 09 Aug 2010, billyhano wrote:

    Good idea if it stops the English white settlers migrating to Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Spain. Where you are no longer welcome.


    This is a fun comment-

    Ireland was the land of migration. People leaving due to a lack of opportunities. Ireland started to improve on this and attracted some migrants back. Then recession hit.

    Wales is a lovely place blighted by speed cameras which caught the lead police advocate speeding! Speed limits are heading towards the horse and cart and was reflected in the tourist industry to wales.

    Spain is struggling and cant afford the renewable energy projects dispite taking extra money for it! If they didnt accept rich people into their country they would be even worse off.

    Scotland spends well over its tax intake which is funded by the english so I dont see how any complaints can be made there.

    Cant say I have ever been or would want to go to cornwall.

  • Comment number 83.

    Another loony left idea from this communist leaning Government, if people cannot afford to buy a house then quite frankly tough.

    The only social housing that should be available to the skiving, scrounging riff raff in this country is barrack accommodation where the lazy underclass should stay whilst they are doing enforced labour which would benefit the decent people in this country. They should be split into male or female only barracks to discourage breeding, either that or forced sterilisation.

    But this is the kind of wishy washy ideas you expect from this so called "TORY" government, in my view they are even more left wing than the last Labour government. How they managed to take over the only party with Englands cause at heart I'll never know. Cameron is a Liberal Democrat airhead who jumps on any populist bandwagon that comes along.

    What we need is a real Tory government who will take forward the impotent ideas we have been developing whilst in opposition, instead we have a communist government with a nu-labour spinning front.

  • Comment number 84.

    Many people rightly mention the disgrace of all the empty private accommodation.

    What they may not be aware of are Empty Dwelling Management Orders (search this). These are discretionary local authority powers to take charge of unoccupied property and bring it back into housing use.

    If you know of residential property standing empty near you then let the council know.

    If nothing else occupation will reduce crime risks.

  • Comment number 85.

    I would welcome additional funding for social housing if the provision of that housing was applied fairly to all sections of society. Currently if you are a single childless person you have next to no chance of getting social housing. This is a form of economic discrimination which needs to be addressed. The building of suitable homes for single and childless people should be a priority to redress this. These homes should also then be offered to childless people over 50 at a price comprable to the price someone who had been in social housing since they were in their 20's. Single childless people (aka one person families) have contributed to these properties all their working lives through their taxes. They should be given a level playing field to benefit from them too.

    However I guess the childed majority will only grab all these housed for themselves claiming that they have some god given superior claim so until such time that we have a just society that treats all members equally then I regretfully must say - NO NOT A PENNY !!!!

  • Comment number 86.

    I had a painful experience. My house in Manchester was rented to a council tenant through an estate agent. The house was burnt down due to anti-social behaviour. I received no compensation either from the insurance company (the estate agent made a mistake in the application form), or from the council (who recommended good characters of the tenant).

  • Comment number 87.

    There are many old factory sites that already have basic sewerage, drains, roads and electricity suplies. Most of these are in, or just outside, town or city centres. There is no need to build in the country or in affluent areas as this would lower house prices and overload services.
    The councils would also attempt to move ASBO type famiies in. Keep these people in purpose built estates with restricted access to the more affluent areas.

  • Comment number 88.

    71. At 11:30am on 09 Aug 2010, RedandYellowandGreennotBlue wrote:

    51. At 10:53am on 09 Aug 2010, in_the_uk wrote:
    25. At 09:39am on 09 Aug 2010, RedandYellowandGreennotBlue wrote:
    "In your statement against the tory you have 100% stated that labour were completely useless and ineffective."

    Did I? Can't find where I said that?

    "More development is needed but on brownfield sites. Leaving the nice land alone and concentrating on rebuilding the wrecks would be a huge improvement."

    Yes, absolutely. It's just a shame that it has come to this.


    You stated that it was tory policy which caused the problem back from before labour. Because labour were in power for 13 years, and lived through (and spent) the boom where they could have corrected all these problems. So labour were useless.

    Labour could easily have pushed for further development of brownfield sites but they didnt. They did help house prices shoot well above starting couples reach.

    I didnt suffer the tories last time but that was a long time ago. A very long time ago.

  • Comment number 89.

    Croydon has just announced that a tower block is to be built in the town centre. The builder has to provide a proportion of the accommodation at "affordable" prices, but says the majority of this quota won't be in the tower but elsewhere in the borough. So the rest will be the usual unaffordable properties, then.

    Builders only want to sell off Luxury Executive properties at high profits and high ground rents/management charges, preferably to private landlords, large companies and foreigners. One way to ensure that affordable housing is provided is to forbid the building of these expensive flats and housing estates. However without these profits the builders will be reluctant to build cheaper houses, and will be laying off skilled staff.

    Perhaps the only solution is for the government to buy the sites, employ contractors to build the houses and flats and lend people the money to buy them. Councils used to do exactly this, but pocketed the money when Council housing was sold off to sitting tenants at great discounts.

    I wouldn't trust most borough councils to organise a ****-up in a brewery. Take them out of the picture completely and let's get building.

  • Comment number 90.

    Stop immigration for a few years (5 at least).
    Get rid of illegals.
    Don't give housing to anyone under 25. If they are having kids this young without the ability to support that child, DON'T REWARD THEM FOR IT. Make them stay at home with their parents. Young people have got to learn that having babies is not a career option.

  • Comment number 91.

    82. At 11:40am on 09 Aug 2010, in_the_uk wrote:

    "...Cant say I have ever been or would want to go to cornwall."
    That might explain why it's such a charming place.

  • Comment number 92.

    Well I guess Thatcher's "market forces" didn't help.

  • Comment number 93.

    Pre 1980's having a council house was the norm. Then council tennants were given the right to buy after which living in social housing was looked down upon. This has brough the housing market to where it is virtually impossible to get on the housing ladder without a huge deposit. Houses are the only items we buy which we expect to increase in value as they age. Its crazy.

    Social housing must be built, it must also be affordable and of a good standard. I beleive not so long ago housing associations were offered money to buy up new builds which were not being sold due to the recession. I understand that many of these properties were rejected becuase the rooms were too small or the workmanship was of a poor standard.

    I live in social housimg (I have worked all my life even when my daughter was small) I could never have afforded to buy, without social housing I would have been renting a room, or worse. Owning your own home is great - if you can afford to do so - but don't look down on social housing as a poor relation, we are not all unemployed, illegals or vicky pollard types. Many of us - beleive it or not - are decent hard working people who live in very nice areas where we take pride in our homes and out neighbourhood and are still single parents !!!

  • Comment number 94.

    Why do people always blame the immigrant?

    They're not the problem! If supply of new homes being built, is less than the demand for more housing, of course it will exacerbate things.

    But you don't blame the demand. You blame the supplier.
    If your newsagent was sold out of your favourite newspaper, you don't tell them "If you didn't serve all them immigrants, You'd still have a newspaper to sell me.",
    Chances are, you'd think more like "You should have had more newspapers to sell!"

  • Comment number 95.

    The problem with the property market in the UK directly relates to the problems with the banks.

    Banks in the UK historically have invested in Property both private and Corporate rather than business .It is in the banks interest that prices are as high and that property inflation continues apace as possible as this maximises their profits.
    The result of this is that in real terms after inflation the cost of Housing and Business property has risen 250% in the last 40 Years.

    Those who build property are more than happy to participate in this arrangement,clearly the profits to be made on building one or two "executive" properties at a £1million+ each far out way the profit and construction cost on building 50 + "affordable" properties at £40,000 each.
    Which is why in general builders don't build much.Low build levels also artificially inflate prices.

    Added to this has been successive local governments ,mostly but not exclusively Tory, readily giving planning permission for this type of construction while denying that for affordable or social housing. This isn't in general the result of corruption it relates to additional infrastructure costs ,roads , schools, sewers etc which they wish to avoid.

    Offering a grant to local authorities will only prove of benefit in terms of improving the housing stock if the type of property it relates to is identified.

  • Comment number 96.

    Why give money to councils to encourage housebuilding?

    If a proposed development meets the requirements of the council's local plan, the presumption is that it will be passed, so what's the problem?

    Councils are already effectively and legally heavily bribed by the payment of developer contributions. These payments are meant to offset the effects of the development on existing infrastructure, but seem to be mainly spent on trophy or prestige sports facilities. Or are mislaid.

    In the SE we have crumbling roads and pavements, and overburdened infrastructure. Building more houses alone is not enough.

    The problem is not a shortage of housing, it is uncontrolled population growth.

  • Comment number 97.

    Unfortunately ignoring the political reasons behind this announcement the truth is building new houses is only a sticking plaster to a very serious social problem, which if not tackled now will erupt pretty violently within the next two decades, namely that this country like the world is already over crowded and it is going to get worse, but is building more and mores homes really the right policy?

    There are already serious undertones of social resentment on this HYS as parents evict their unemployed children and offer them little or no help and there in lies a modern western problem, me me me.

    I know of many retired parents whose aim it is to spend everything they have and leave nothing for their children. Why?

    I am willing to bet many of these people inherited something from their parents / grandparents and if they were honest getting employment was easy, they fell into a job upon leaving school.

    We also have a growing population of elderly people who live on their own, often in large homes and who put demands on the countries social and health services. In fact there have been a number of cases in our local area where families are suing social care services because their elderly relative was found dead lying in their own filth. OK the social services probably got it wrong but where were the family?

    Go back 50 years and the eldest (son normally) would move in with their parents and look after them in old age and in return inherited the home which is probably where the Council Housing pass it down rule came into being as it was probably more cost effective and kept job skills local. It also helped to hold the community fabric together.

    This probably also answers those people who have made observations about the large houses in big gardens that were built in Victorian days as they were built to home and feed generations of families who looked after one another.

    Sadly modern housing stock prevents us from even considering looking after our parents and we have become too detached from them to even contemplate such a possibility, but unless social attitudes change then we are on a serious coarse to melt down as the young grow more resentful of the wealth their parents have and the debt they will inherit.

    Its no good just building new homes without tackling population control, jobs and social attitudes.

  • Comment number 98.

    1. At 09:04am on 09 Aug 2010, grainsofsand wrote:
    The Government recently estimated that 40% of new homes would be occupied by immigrants. Rather than concreting over our countryside we need to cut the number of immigrants coming to this country and deport all illegal immigrants

    Is there nothing some people don't blame immigrants for? In the real world there are thousends of empty houses most just need a bit of work.

  • Comment number 99.

    Oh my this wont bode well in the Tory party
    Now listen chaps. If we build more cheap housing we get a grant............ Just think all that lovely free cash to spend on what we like. BUT we have to let poor people live in them mmmmmm will it be worth it. Cant we exchange rich people in a poor area something like the carbon emissions scheme mmmmmmmmmmm more problems what shall we do ?????

  • Comment number 100.

    I have a concern regarding this initiative, in that who will benefit from the match funding? The local council who will actually be the development area, or the County/Metropolitan council who take the largest Counil Tax contribution. If the latter then once again Local councils will lose out, I hope it will be properly thought out and any match funding is at least split on a pro-rata basis based on present tax demands.


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