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Council Housing & Immigration
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Posts: 141
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #1
04-03-2015 05:02 PM

Very interesting and deeply moving TV programme last night about the process homeless families have to go through to find suitable housing in London, particularly as one of the families featured was from the borough of Lewisham....

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Posts: 347
Joined: May 2005
Post: #2
04-03-2015 08:28 PM


I agree that this is deeply moving but it also demonstrates how wrong these homeless units are. What people need is stability; and all this moving families from pillar to post causes too much unnecessary stress.

Ironically though, people who've been through this aggravation - and who later become lucky enough to get a council flat or house - are sometimes eligible to buy it at a cut price from 2 years into their tenancy. How crazy is that! The reason they've had to endure so much discomfort is because of the severe lack of council housing and then the council, knowing the problems, are obliged to sell. DURR!

I've been through the old half-way house system as a very young child and I still remember clearly the elation when we were given a council flat on the old Sumner Estate in Peckham. Me, my brother and my sister all shared a 12' x 9' bedroom until we were 10, 11 and 12 but it was our home for many years and it allowed us to flourish (all going state grammar schools).

This 'Right-to-Buy' drives me mad because it's depriving people like those kids on that TV program of the homes they desperately need. In my opinion Lewisham need to forget this short-term sticking-plaster plan and have a bit of a rethink.

By the way, how lovely were both of the eldest children in both of those families!

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Posts: 141
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #3
05-03-2015 09:34 AM

I agree, anotherjohn, right to buy has been part of the problem, but Lewisham are doing what they can, in my opinion, with regard to new council homes being built.... it's a start, at least. One council can't be expected to fix what is a nationwide problem, and the programme was right in focussing on the fact that children are taking the brunt of it.

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Posts: 135
Joined: Jan 2011
Post: #4
05-03-2015 01:58 PM

You are never going to be able to build enough council houses if you can't control immigration. Don't get me wrong on this, I work with quite a few who have come to make a new life in London and they are often better behaved, educated, and motivated than those who were born here so I am more than happy to give them a job.

However, when it comes to housing it is a question of demand and supply. You can't let in six million people (or whatever it was under Tony and Gordon), then let in another million under Dave and Nick and expect everything to work out fine. Indeed the problem is only going to get worse.

As for Hamilton Lodge if Lewisham says something is temporary you can expect it to be in place for at least 20 years at which point it will no doubt be sold by the Council to raise money to plug some other hole in finances.

Meanwhile I notice yet another utterly pointless edition of Lewisham Life has been delivered. The person responsible for this really must lead a charmed life to have kept their job with money so tight for every other budget.

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Posts: 44
Joined: Dec 2014
Post: #5
05-03-2015 04:55 PM

The population of England and Wales at 40 year intervals

1851 18 million
1891 29 million
1931 40 million
1971 49 million
2011 56 million

The rate of population increase has been slowing despite immigation. After the 2nd world war there was a concerted effort to house people in decent conditions. There was massive housebuilding. Immigration is just an excuse. If we built 300,000 homes a year we would soon make real inroads into the housing crisis. During the 80s and 90s council housing was denigrated by a conservative media campaign to paint all estates as borderline slums populated by scum. There was a widespread view that council estates were the last refuge for the desperate. I should point out that I grew up in Cambridge and this view may not have gained so much traction in London. No-one was going to build council housing and selling it off could only be a "civilising" influence. Nowadays many are jealous of council housing's relatively cheap rents and secure tenancies. Despite that negative connotations persist, new housing developments boast about their lack of social housing.

When you see documentaries like those about families made homeless you realise how tough it can be for the poor. These are the real victims of the housing crisis. I have to pay an oversize mortgage, they don't know where they will be living in a month's time. They also live in cramped accomodation that is often damp and/or infested with vermin. Immigration is an easy excuse for politicians to do nothing. Especially as many MPs directly profit from high housing costs. Not only do they blame immigration but they can then point at Europe as the cause. No mention that a substantial proportion of immigration comes from outside the EU. It is misdirection. They blame immigration because they would rather do that than take on the nimbies or the builders.

Lewisham Council are in a difficult position. They are hugely constrained by central Government.

If we were to start building a lot more houses it would also be a signifiant boost to the economy.

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Posts: 42
Joined: Oct 2014
Post: #6
05-03-2015 06:55 PM

I agree with Bramptonroad
The estimated population on 1st July 2014 was 63,489234.
So that means that since 2011 according to the estimate, the population has grown from 56 million by 13.37% that is 7,489234 more people.
If we all pull together like they did after the 2nd World War I am sure we can get everybody into decent housing, I know that this may change our country beyond recognition but it will be for the common good and the bonus is some people will make lots of money from the property boom.

My apologies for this but I have just had one of those taboo thoughts….What if the population keeps growing at the same rate?

No surely not. There must be an upper limit that we can go to!
I will have to ask my prospective politician what it is, or is that politically incorrect.

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Posts: 135
Joined: Jan 2011
Post: #7
10-03-2015 08:11 AM

I think the underlying issue is immigration. The figures this week were 600,000 net migrants under this government. There were several times that number under the previous one. You will never be able to manage the supply of housing if you can't manage the demand.

Meanwhile I also heard that the Labour party has said that one of its manifesto pledges, if elected, is to create more primary school places. However, back in the borough that has been under Labour control since Gladstone was prime minister the focus is on more places for the homeless.

Sounds a bit like those banks that only provide the best offers for new customers.

This post was last modified: 10-03-2015 08:12 AM by 152047.

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Posts: 3,221
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #8
10-03-2015 10:11 AM

However, back in the borough that has been under Labour control since Gladstone was prime minister....

Lewisham was under Conservative rule between 1968-1971. Gladstone was only prime minister until 1874, almost one hundred years before Labour's uninterrupted rule of Lewisham began.

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Posts: 135
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Post: #9
16-04-2015 08:18 PM

I thought that exaggeration was an acceptable rhetorical technique but yes, you are correct Labour have only run Lewisham for the last 44 years.

Incidentally, the solution I had in mind for the housing crisis was to introduce a tax on multiple home ownership which would increase incrementally over time.

It strikes me that the buy to let fashion has done that terrible thing of allowing people who have money already (and can therefore afford a deposit) to make more money by simply buying a property and then renting it out. Money going to money without any expenditure of blood, sweat or tears.

The tax would have to be incremental (perhaps starting at 1% of market value per year) to avoid destabilising the market and penalising those who have just entered the buy to let market.

The tax could start at a higher rate for non-doms. I don't believe anything of the talk that this will frighten them away from London. The bankers didn't up sticks and leave did they?

Over a period of five to ten years you could take a lot of demand out the market and so reduce the cost of housing.

If you had exemptions for bona fide housing associations that would allow them to continue their mainly good work.

No tax would be levied on a person's main home so as to allow and Englishman's home to remain his castle as and when he or she could actually afford to buy one.

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