Thursday, 2 September 2010

Right to Buy

The Policy Exchange have produced a new report on social housing and planning policy.  One of its recommendations is to:

"New tenants in social housing should by default be placed on a “Path to Ownership”, which would see their rent instead become mortgage payments. To allow more social housing to built, low-interest government bonds would be issued, with rent/mortgage payments being used to service the debt. This would be cheaper than the current system of subsidies."

If I remember correctly Graham Gudgin was pushing a comparable idea 5-7 years ago for Northern Ireland as a means to ensure the benefits of peace were more shared across the classes.  It is certainly worth exploring as creating mechanisms for asset accumulation is a means of tackling long-term poverty.  Arguably the Irish Land Acts which enabled 1000s to become landowners is a comparable policy.

PS There is a publication from 1872 on the issue of Tenant right that had a very interesting cartoon within it.  It had two pictures - one of a poor tenant paying his rent while taking abuse from the landlord's agent and the second of him paying his mortgage to a courteous agent.  There was a rhyme beneath both.  Under the first Ulster-Scots was used but under the second it was English.

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