Monday, February 02, 2009

Social housing: the return?

If the government's building programme goes ahead, then they need to steer clear of the pokey and overpriced 'urban splash' dens of the binge years.

The Government announced "the biggest building programme since the 1950s". At last a good and practical thing to do and for the benefit of the many. As the number of repossessions skyrockets and the money available to buy new properties dwindles, investing money in social housing now is the logical thing to do. According to Gordon Brown, this would also "rescue the construction industry and help to kick-start the economy".

One of the many gifts left by Margaret Thatcher was the assassination of social housing. That contributed to the deterioration of the existing council homes and the beginning of the general perception that council estates=shitholes.

Also, if you wondered why all those new overpriced apartments are so microscopic, the answer lies in a Tory law from 1980 which abolished the so-called Parker Morris Standards. Set in the 1960s, those space standards became a milestone in housing provision, as they aimed at improving living standards and avoiding people living in cupboards. They stated a mandatory minimum liveable space and basic planning principles. Until 'the market' became the new idol, and the last drop of profit squeezed from basic human need.

If you simply look around, the result is that the greatest majority of today's cool and flashy (and mostly repossessed) apartments would not meet the standards from fifty years ago.

"New homes in England are being built smaller than almost anywhere else in Europe", a BBC report said last September. So, Gordon: how about reintroducing space standards now?


The Cat said...

Looking forward to all the bloggertarians moaning about this. :)

Anonymous said...

Seriously I am sympathetic to left politics but you have got to get out of the frame of reference from which you argue.

"The Market" was never free under the tories it was stacked on the side of the rich...but that does not then mean that Socialism is right all along. Such dialectical thinking only serves the crooks at the top.

You must read a free book available here:


The Conservative Nanny State
How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer
by Dean Baker, published May 2006

Socialism also creates bureaucrats and empowers the State. The real criminals are the bankers, fractional reserve banking and the way they 'loan' money to governments so that we pay them back the interest in taxes (National Debt).

Stan Moss said...

but that does not then mean that Socialism is right all along.

Did I blink?
Whereabouts in the article does it say so?

Anonymous said...

In the peice it does not say explicitly that socialism is right all along, it is an assumption built into the idea of 'social housing'.

That bureaucrats and State Planners can do a good job of providing for us, because they have such large brains and the God like State on their side is implicit.

The fact is it is the State whether under labour or tory which empowers the elites, they both serve the same masters, only using different rhetoric.

claude said...

And your point is, Anonymous?
No to council homes? Yes to council homes? What is it?