Over the weekend David Cameron announced he will rid Britain of the 100 worst council housing sink estates.
A quick few general points below and of necessity no details were given of this just the nice soundbite on the very friendly Marr show.
- Nice of Cameron to label council housing and sink estate which is no change in the usual Tory narrative.
- The Government will put in £140 million and then expect (ahem!) private money and institutional investors such as pension funds to contribute the rest. Yet Andrew Neill on the BBC Sunday Politics said he had looked in depth before for institutional investment in social housing and it comes so far to a big fat ZERO!
- Then a very readable article by Jayne Linney today says that where this programme of demolition has been tried before only half of the previous council housing is replaced – the other half being private rent or private sale.
So if the top 100 council estates – the failing sink estates in Cameron’s deliberately engineered jargon – each have 500 properties, this first phase sees 50,000 council houses demolished and replaced with just 25,000 and a net loss of 25,000 council and therefore genuinely affordable properties are lost.
Yet, if the institutional investment does not flow, which is improbable, will the £140 million government funding merely pay for 100 council estates being demolished simple leaving available land but no funding for council or other social housing and then all be used for private rent and private sale?
In summary we have two options:
(a) private and/or institutional investment does materialise and there’s a 50% loss of council housing; or
(b) private funding does not materialise and 100% of council housing is lost.
Given it makes much better business sense for the private investor NOT to have council housing in amongst private rented and privately owned properties then the likelihood is the latter and these former council estates become high cost private only housing built on what was formerly council land.
At least Captain Mainwaring was a transparent idiot Prime Minister