Not being terribly well off, financially, I cannot, regretfully, help towards the purchase of homes for my beloved offspring, not a problem I here you say, there are plenty of us out here in the same boat.
Anyway, not too much of a problem for my kids as they make their own successful way in their chosen lives', all ensconced in cosy little 'villas' or in the case of son, his own cosy little 'pub'. But Jennifer, my youngest, a successful homemaker and mother to three gorgeous girls, had to start off in private rented accommodation for which she and Steve, her partner, were paying through the [proverbial] nose. They had to do this, as the area they lived in, like most areas in the UK, does not appear to have sufficient affordable social housing.
I believe that this can be tracked back to the conservatives and Maggie Thatcher and the 'Right to Buy' policy that they/ she introduced in the 80's. When you think about it, it really was a great idea, let the peasants invest in their own future and see the world from a different perspective, be a property owner, invest in bricks and mortar, who wouldn't want to do this, I know I did.
And therein lies the problem, so many of us took advantage of this great offer, with the added bonus that massive discounts were applied to the selling price, that social housing stocks across the length and breadth of the country started to dissapear at an incredible rate. And yet no one took any notice!
But what was the main problem with this scheme, well as usual the devil was in the detail. And what was the detail, well the most important detail, at the time was, Councils were not allowed to reinvest the money into building more homes, so, as more and more people took advantage of the, 'Right to Buy' the social housing stock began to dwindle.
When you think about it, [and I know the three degrees of separation are fairly loose on this one, but it is my rant so give me a break] is this not a similar situation to the banking debacle of the last couple of years, where the banks were deregulated by people in power/government and who are supposedly responsible and intelligent, [as they are clearly not], and who, under normal circumstances you wouldn't put in charge of a piss-up-in-a-brewery because, while on the surface they have had a good idea, they have absolutely no concept of how to put it into practice as a long term and effective plan without the in-built safety features needed in such grand designs! [The argument that permanent civil servants are in place for actioning policy can be left for another blog on another day]
It seems that all politicians have these grand ideas, but let’s face it today, knowing what we do about most of them, we wouldn't allow them to be in charge of that mythical Piss up in a Brewery let alone in charge of running the country. And why not, well, because the majority of them, regardless of the fact that they may have attended fancy schools and universities, they just do not have the intellect to manage the bus fare on the No 22 let alone the finances and economy of the country.
That is not an outlandish statement to make; you only need to look at it:
HOUSES SOLD OFF - NO BALANCE MAINTAINED IN SOCIAL HOUSING
BANKS DEREGULATED AND REGULATORS AND HOUSE OF COMMONS COMMITTEES UNABLE TO SEE THE LOOMING DISASTER
UTILITY COMPANIES SOLD OFF ON THE CHEAP ALLOWING SPECULATORS TO MAKE VAST FORTUNES WHILE THE MUGS WHO BOUGHT THEIR HOMES SEE COSTS SPIRAL OUT OF CONTROL FOR BASIC EVERYDAY REQUIREMENTS LIKE GAS, ELECTRICITY AND WATER
GOLD RESERVES SOLD OFF ON THE CHEAP ONLY FOR GOLD PRICES TO BE RISING HIGHER AND HIGHER, TO BE BOUGHT BACK BY THE GOVERNMENT AFTER WE SOLD IT CHEAPLY IN THE FIRST PLACE (It doesn't matter that it was G Brown who sold it and it is G Osborne who is buying it back)
BRAND NEW RAF PLANES, NOT QUITE PAID FOR, BUT ALREADY BROKEN UP BY THE SCRAPPIES
MILLIONS SPENT ON TRAINING PILOTS, WHO THEN ARE MADE REDUNDANT BEFORE SEEING PROPER SERVICE
The lists go on and on, and yet it is we through higher and higher taxation that must keep baling them out.........
The one and only constant in all of this is that consecutive governments of all parties prove over and over again that they are incapable of managing the country in an effective manner.
I read of two adjoining council houses this week that have been empty for over three months and boarded up with those awful steel shutters that you see over doors and windows. And my question then is this. If we do not have sufficient social housing stocks, then why are two properties in Langdon Hills and allegedly owned by Basildon Council and managed by St George's Community Housing, left unattended for three months and then allowed to be broken into and vandalised?
Why weren't these properties (if) taken back into the housing stock, and surely they were if St. George's Community Housing boarded them up, and immediately put back onto the rental lists?
Why were they left boarded up for three months without any maintenance or repairs taking place, if it was needed, while those in desperate need of social housing are forced to continue to live in overcrowded homes, or worse. And then when limited stock is available they are forced into competing for one in that ridiculous and monstrous bidding system that most authorities seem to employ these days, and which I completely fail to understand. And while the properties are lying abandoned does this mean that the local authorities then are abandoning their responsibilities and indeed their voters/potential voters.....
It really is a ridiculous situation to witness what clearly is local authority housing lying empty when so many people are in need. My wife and I were out for a walk to the local garden centre a Saturday or two ago, and I saw the same thing in Ockendon, a property with the same type of steel shutters on the doors and windows and with obvious signs of neglect and un-occupancy for some considerable time as told by the weeds on the path, etc.
Don't people in power actually care, once they get into office, it seems not, and while I have been tweeting over the last few days to remind the UK to vote in local elections and in the referendum, taking place today, when you see acts of gross neglect such as these, you do wonder if it is worth it, but you also begin to see and to realise why the turnout of voters can invariably be very disappointing. The reason is of course that once in office the promises made at the hustings are soon forgotten by those making them, but, and for politicians whether local or national, the message must be, that you forget to keep the promises, but the voters don't forget that you made them when asking them to vote for you.
Do not continue to disappoint us, it is not equitable and sooner or later there will be a straw that falls and breaks the back of the voters.