With ‘friends’ like John Healey who needs enemies Jeremy Corbyn?
Just one of the questions when looking at the Labour Party housing policy released today by John Healey the housing minister, a noted Blairite who voted for Yvette Cooper in the leadership election and noted friend of the modern-day housing associations who are very much a Blairite product.
Dear social tenant would you rather pay £2 billion per year more in rent over and above inflation per year (the Conservatives policy of CPI inflation+1% rent rises) or pay £2.5 billion per year over and above inflation which is the John Healey / Labour policy detailed today of CPI + 1.8% rent increases? Yes that is what the policy means and it favours the landlord over the tenant
Oh and the Labour Party will also suspend the right to buy – a great idea – yet of course taking this ‘right’ away along with Labour charging you more in rent is what the media will focus upon to discredit Corbyn! As I said Mr Corbyn who needs enemies when you have friends like John Healey!
Are you happy Mr Corbyn that John Healey says just 11,500 social housing properties have been converted (sic) to the affordable rent level that is 44% higher on average as a result of Tory policy? You shouldn’t be as it is at least 20,000 properties per year that social tenants (aka voters) have been screwed out of with 44% rent increases by this policy.
Now why would John Healey deliberately understate the Tory policy (and social landlord practice) by halving the real figure Mr Corbyn?
Why would John Healey base his new genuinely affordable rent level on 41% of social tenants NOT receiving housing benefit when the true figure is 27%?
Yes the central theme of your 44 page long Housing Green Paper and policy Mr Corbyn released today by John Healey is his view of what is a genuinely affordable rent level … and you will recall he first used this to describe the London rent level of Sadiq Khan which proved to be between 14% and 52% higher than the normal social rent level … and that’s with £60k subsidy per property too!
Anyone would think, Mr Corbyn, that John Healey is planning a Blairite / Prospect coup against you with his version of Labour housing policy! Perish the thought as that would surely be conspiracy theory now wouldn’t it!? Ahem!!
PS Who decided on the Stalinist housing architecture that adorns the cover of the Green Paper?
To adopt a less sarcastic tone and a decidedly serious one, if Jeremy Corbyn does not get rid of John Healey and his very right-wing Blairite housing policy then there is not a hope in hell’s chance of Labour winning the next election given the huge importance of UK housing on the political agenda. That is the rub.
This John Healey housing policy released today actually favours social (sic) landlords over social tenants and of that there is no doubt so …. Would you rather have 25,000 or so social housing staff voting for you Mr Corbyn or around 6 million social tenants of voting age who live in social housing?
John Healey’s housing policy greatly appeals to those working in housing and greatly angers the 6 million tenants of voting age who live in social housing. He is as toxic as the Tory housing policies we have now and he has to go if you have any ambitions to be Prime Minister. It really is that simple and that binary and that is not sarcasm but cold hard reality.
ALL of Labour’s policies will be scrutinized to death by the unfriendly media in the UK and the slightest ‘flaw’ will become the greatest mountain not a molehill and favouring the council and housing association landlord over the tenant is a shameful policy.
Paragraph 14 of the Green Paper lauds the Capita Economics report of a few months back that called for rent rise in social housing of CPI inflation plus a further 1.8% on average across the UK plus restoring capital grant that the Tories have withdrawn. The Tories sneaked out that their plans for the social rent formula on the day before Good Friday and will see CPI+1% rent rises for 6 million voters who live in 4.4 million UK social housing properties.
It is not surprising that John Healey lies this as he has engaged Steve Hilditch as his primary housing consultant on Labour Housing Policy. The same Steve Hilditch who is a governing body member of the SHOUT campaign who commissioned the Capita Economics report – a governing body that is made of of the great and the good of social landlords …. shock horror!! … and who are lobbying for inflation plus 1.8% rent increases for council and housing association tenants – which is higher than existing Tory policy and plans!!
I am very sure that Jeremy Corbyn realises he is being set up to fail by his housing minister and being set-up because he and John McDonnell rightly know that the only way to solve the TWO leading issue of the UK housing crisis, of under supply and truly genuinely affordable housing, is to embark on a mass council housebuilding programme … which of course exposes that housing associations are mere bit part players in this area and as the Green Paper says don’t build more than 30,000 houses or 10% of the 300,000 needed per year.
Yet we also see the LGA wanting councils and council landlords (two very separate actors here) to have the extra revenue that the housing associations have enjoyed with the affordable rent programme of the Tories and why the LGA and their ALMO variants co-commissioned the same Capita Economics report. Council landlords want the extra rent income that the Tories have bought off the housing associations with, and councils without any housing stock are scurrying apace to set up local Housing Companies – private landlords wholly owned by councils – to get this added rent from the social tenants.
ALL landlords who comprise the misnomer called social housing, all council and housing associations variants, want to shaft the 6 million strong voters known as the social tenants with ever higher rent levels … and John Healey is only too happy to oblige them all with this Green Paper as it will expose Corbyn to huge vitriol over Labour’s housing policy that shafts the 6 million voters in social housing more than the Tories have since 2010.
Will the last person out switch off the street lights they sleep under due to Corbyn’s housing policy is a variant of the headline that a so-called newspaper I wouldn’t wipe my backside on once issued and will use again. That is the clear intention of this truly offensive Labour Party housing policy Mr Corbyn and from John Healey and his friends in the social housing sector.
Corbyn and McDonnell share the same housing goal as the Tories in one glaring way. They want increased home ownership as it is the same Keynesian multiplier theory that home owners buy more goods and services and spend more as the Keynesian multiplier theory behind a mass council housebuilding programme.
More tax collected and less welfare spend because people are working not idle and a greater percentage of UK housing stock is really really really affordable so they can spend more of their income on many other expenditure items in real confidence and not in fear of them and their children being evicted and homeless.
Yet that means mass council housebuilding and if every local council built 365 properties per year or 1 per day on average it is the 151,000 or 50% of the 300,000 new houses each year the country needs. Every £1 less spent on rent is £1 more to be saved for a mortgage deposit and thus greater council housing at a social rent level creates MORE UK home owners not less as it maximises the opportunity for every citizen.
Yet that would see housing associations sidelined to the irrelevance they truly are and would deny council landlords the greater rents they crave and deny councils who are setting up LHCs apace to take tenants for granted by shafting them for more in rent. ALL ‘social’ (sic) landlords want to shaft the 6 million social tenants who are voters for ever more in rent and regardless of how much that buggers up the national economy. They all love the John Healey housing policy Mr Corbyn because they make more money out of it by screwing the life out of 6 million people you want to vote for you!
Mr Corbyn & Mr McDonnell have been promising action against the excesses of the private landlord for many years and especially since 2015 when the generation rent type lobbies have been pushing for something to be done to stop these excesses. Where are the plans for this in this Green Paper? They are nowhere to be seen!
Is that because Corbyn and McDonnell have abandoned any such regulation and restraint of the private landlord or simply forgotten about these promises … or is it because John Healey wants social housing rents to increase so much more that there is no financial headroom left to regulate private rent levels? That is what the John Healey policy does in leaving no headroom to regulate and restrain the excesses of the private landlord rent because social rent levels are increasing too much … and increasing much more than under the current Tory plans!!!
Corbynistas have just used his hammer to hit the nail on the head of the John Healey coup and I have already said what they should do with his sickle to the head of John the Blairite if they ever want Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister.
However, much of the above is back story and the real public-facing issue will be Corbyn denies hardworking families the right to buy (blah, blah, blah) that will be emblazoned across the largely Tory friendly media. Corbyn is no friend of the hardworking tenant blah, blah, blah by taking away their right blah, blah, blah… Corbyn denies those seeking to become part of the great property-owning democracy that Glorious Leader Thatcher began … blah, blah, f*cking blah!
Anyone with the slightest modicum of housing knowledge can picture those headlines now and picture the vitriol that will come Corbyn’s way over this Healey housing policy. The Tories will repeat this ad infinitum so that the 6 million social housing tenants of voting age vote Tory in fear of losing this right. And while I agree that it is in the best interests of everyone to scrap the RTB I also believe Corbyn should (and needs to) box clever … by EXTENDING the very electorally popular RTB to all social tenants and on the same terms as those enjoyed by council tenants!
The RTB for housing association tenants was (allegedly) extended by the Tories but on a pilot basis and ONLY covers those with ten years of more of living in social housing while the original right to buy for council tenants requires just two years. Why not give every tenant the same right to buy by equalising the criteria to 5 years for council and HA tenants … and extend this RTB to private renting tenants too on the same 5 year criterion?
That may read like some deluded naïve wishful thinking but it’s not and such a policy could work and is a policy that is truly radical and one which is truly needed. It would regulate the private rented sector and restrain it and it would do the same to ALL landlords types in the misnamed social rented sector.
As would tying rent increases for ALL landlords to wage inflation and not to the landlord-friendly and tenant-shafting inflation plus x % rent increases. Under the Tories from 2010 to 2017 (the last full year figures) wage inflation was 10.8% yet private rents increased 19.8%, housing association rents increased 26.2% and council rents increased 31.6% in that time.
Just as there can never be any justification for private rents increasing at double the rate of wage inflation then there can definitely be no justification for council rents increasing by three times the rate of wage inflation which they have done! Curbing rent increases saves billions to the taxpayer in housing benefit each year and that saving could be put back into building more really, really, really affordable housing each and every year for the good of all and the good of the economy and not just for the greedy landlord in the feudal system we have had for too long.
It would also mean LESS homelessness, LESS poverty, LESS insecurity in the UK rented housing market and do so on a structural basis for our children and their children too. They would not be priced out of the home ownership route as they are now, but priced-in to it through lower rent levels meaning more can be saved.
That all sounds so radical but it isn’t at all. It is radical only in its departure from the perverse norm we have had in the UK rented housing market since Thatcher’s RTB in 1980 and it would solve not just today’s housing crises but prevent them returning again.
It would also see Mr Corbyn attract the vast majority of those 6 million voters who live now in social housing wouldn’t it Mr Healey? And with more and more of the voting population living in social housing each year who would ALL remember that the much greater opportunity they have to be a home owner was given to them by a Labour Government …. but oh dear Mr Healey your erstwhile ‘friends’ called the social (sic) landlords would not be very happy would they?
Your choice Mr Corbyn to get rid of the Blairite Brutus called Healey and develop a principled and fair housing policy based on tenant need not landlord greed to put you in Downing Street or keep him and lose spectacularly which I assure you it will if you keep this shameful housing policy released today!
For the many (6 million social tenant voters) not the few (housing landlords) Jeremy please!