It is time we finally put the right to buy policy where it belongs…in the annals (though a single ‘n’ would do) of history. I don’t just mean the bull and bluster vote buying RTB proposals for housing associations of the Tories now, I mean RTB in its entirety.
I have come across the BBC archives which are now online and they detail what the BBC said way before it ever went online and so, presumably these comprise a mixture of news reports and Ceefax. The entry over the original Thatcher right to but is below
1979: Council tenants will have ‘right to buy’
- More than five million council house tenants in Britain will be given the right to buy their home under new government proposals. The Housing Bill published today will give tenants who have lived in their home for up to three years a 33% discount on the market value of their home, increasing in stages up to 50% for a tenancy of 20 years.
- The government believes the bill will transform the social structure of Britain for good. Michael Heseltine, secretary of state for the environment, said: “This bill lays the foundations for one of the most important social revolutions of this century.” But Shelter, the organisation for homeless people, has said the move will increase the number of homeless people and decrease the number of homes available to accommodate them.
So over FIVE MILLION council houses in 1979 yet today we have just 3.8 million council and housing association homes and social housing capacity has been depleted significantly.
Interesting how the original plan was a straight percentage discount too whereas today it is a maximum amount of just over £100,000. Now I wonder why today’s Retro-Thatcherites are not allowing a straight 50% off the 15,000 million pound plus properties they claim councils own? Could it be giving away a minimum £500,000 to the shirkers and scroungers they say reside in social housing not be good politics? Of course! Yet why was it good policy 35 years ago then reader? Ah! So it takes the huge sums involved to explain why the theory was wrong in the first place….shame on you reader!!
Shelter saying that homeless will increase and there will be nowhere for them to go? Correct as we now see LB Westminster slapped down by the courts in their policy of exporting local homeless people in Nzolameso where the courts really did kiss their ass and he same council now spending an absolute fortune in having to but back the same properties they sold off in the first place.
Yes that is your taxes that are being wasted reader. Just as they are with today’s latest housing wheeze from the Retro-Thatcherites in government in the welfare reform policies of the bedroom tax and benefit cap. They too sound so good in theory don’t they?
Why should the state (and you the individual taxpayer reader) pay for an extra bedroom for these shirkers!
And how dare these shirkers bloody moan when we say the workless (a clever title that also includes those sick and disabled but subtly disguised in the semantics) can only – yes ONLY – receive £500 per week in state handouts (from you the hardworking family taxpayer!)
The bloody nerve of some people eh!!
But then, just like the Westminster example above, we find that the bedroom tax and the overall benefit cap actually increase the housing benefit bill and COST YOU THE TAXPAYER MORE!!
Yes that’s right reader the welfare reforms (check a dictionary and ‘reform’ means to improve!) of the bedroom tax and the overall benefit cap do not save you – the hardworking taxpayer – a penny, and in fact they cost more of your taxes to pay for. Ok it is only about £440 million or so per year more in real terms – about the same as the nice bung that 880 scrounging council house tenants would get if the original RTB percentage discounts were still in place. Now that £440 million of your hard earned taxes reader will be a bung spread out for 4,400 London social tenants in the Tories latest RTB policy at £100k per head.
Dear reader, if you are like me, then you will despise being lied to and especially by politicians and whether it is the lies of the politicians over RTB in 1979 or whether it is Iain Duncan Smith who is knowingly lying to you and me today claiming his welfare reforms (sic) save money, we all hate lying politicians, although we have become accustomed to it regrettably. Though of course every now and again we get the chance to kick them out.
So what did the opposition parties say back in 1979 about RTB?
- Labour are vehemently opposed to the proposals believing the impact on the nation’s pocket will be huge. Roy Hattersley, shadow environment spokesperson said: “We shall fight it very hard in the House of Commons and in the country.”
A nice bit of token resistance from Roy Hattersley who was vehemently opposed the BBC report says. I hope the reporter was not too close to Woy when he was so vehemently oppposed or at least had the umbrella up!
But such vehement was of course only temporary as Miliband in his first conference leaders speech in Liverpool in 2011 put the nail in the coffin of any Labour resistance to the RTB:
The recent Tory revival and is it Retro-Thatcherite or Proto-Thatcherite(?) revival of the RTB for housing associations also sees Labour supportive of the principle of RTB, it just dislikes this back of a fag packet knee jerk Tory implementation of it…but then so do those ultra left wing commies of Mumsnet, Cosmopolitan, the Financial Times and the Daily Telegraph!
Lets go back to the claims made for RTB in the one thing that truly counts reader, the bottom line! Here is what the original BBC report from 20 December 1979 says on that:
- As a further incentive to prospective buyers the government will also offer tenants a 100% mortgage from the local authority.
- Those who cannot afford to buy their home immediately will be able to pay a £100 deposit and postpone the sale for two years at which time they will be able to purchase their home at today’s prices.
- If local authorities do not comply with the new legislation the secretary of state will have the power to directly intervene in the sale.
- Critics have accused the government of being too generous to council house tenants but the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher and her government are sure the new policy will pave the way for a property-owning democracy and a more socially responsible population.
- Labour believe the cost to the public purse will be thousands per sale but the Conservatives maintain that central and local government will save millions through the reduction of subsidy to council house tenants.
The BBC website archive doesn’t give an exact figure for how much each RTB sale will cost you the taxpayer reader but we can see that Thatcher’s view was that it will save millions. Fortunately we have the actual costs to you dear taxpaying reader in the form of the official Housing Benefit figures – and boy are they revealing!
The 11 years of Thatcher saw the Housing Benefit bill rise a staggering 642%. The 6 years of the man with the grey underpants worn outside his trousers and currently doing the rounds in GE2015 (May version – October one still likely) Major saw the housing benefit bill rise 123%! So at the height of RTB under Thatcher we see a 58% per year average increase to the (taxpayer cost) Housing Benefit bill. Under the still high RTB discounts of the Grey Major the HB bill rose over 20% per year.
Then those partypoopers of Blair and Brown reduce the RTB discounts dramatically and as a result the HB bill only increased by 78% in 13 years – that is 6% per year compared with more than 9 times that of Thatcher and3 times that of Major
Yes reader what was I saying above about how we all detest MPs lying to us? Now how many times have you heard IDS and McVey and the rest saying the last lot hugely increased the Housing Benefit bill? Thousands probably and the huge increase in HB of the last lot is the rationale for the bedroom tax and benefit cap of the zealous IDS….Yes dear reader the same reforms (sic) that actually cost you the hard working taxpayer more in taxes to pay for.
Ok its only £440 million per year more after allowing for inflation or about £1.7 million increase every working day or about £200k extra every working hour or enough for 2 RTB discounts to scrounging London council tenants to make a killing …with your taxes….every hour of every working day.
In summary – the right to buy policy saw a huge increase in taxpayer cost with the Housing Benefit bill. In order to correct that self-created massive cost to the taxpayer, the current Tory coalition introduced the bedroom tax and benefit cap and LHA and SAR cap to reduce your taxpayer cost by £2 billion per year. Yet instead of saving you dear reader £2 billion per year in taxes they cost you £440 million per year in taxes.
Now the latest Tory plan, and not even Baldrick was this cunning, is to increase your tax cost again by giving away even more RTB homes with the apparent logic that the Tories can foll some of the people time and time again and if it gets us elected who gives a flying fig about the taxpayer cost!