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Homes for London Workers

Homes for London Workers – Liberty and Land !


Is it your fault or is it the fault of the system ?

Since the start of the credit crunch workers in London have had to give up the idea of owning property. Many remain trapped in rented accommodation or are living at home. Without ownership of property life for London workers is a relentless financial struggle with little security of tenure. Even before the start of the credit crunch in the summer of 2007 the average age of the first time buyer without parental support was reported to be 38. Now mortgages are hard to come by it’s clear that things are not getting any easier.

What has caused this ?

In the postwar era people were able to but property, but gradually over the last few decades it has steadily got more difficult until now it’s getting almost impossible for many to buy a property without parental help. There are two factors that affect prices, supply and demand. At one time when new houses were needed they were built on the edge of cities, as the demand increased so did supply. After the war governments realised that prosperity was the key determinant of electoral success. The central factor was property prices, which needed to rise. Many suggest that the way that was achieved was to restrict supply. Initially this took the form of a Green Belt around the city. This was, however only partially effective since there was still a large amounts of undeveloped land in London, the brownfield or Metropolitan Open Land. Ultimately building on this land was also restricted. If you take a train or tube out of London you will see empty field by the tracks. All around outer London you will see farms and stables or empty ground. Most of this land is prohibited for building houses. The effect of this lack of building land is that property prices in London have spiralled out of control even more than other parts of the UK that have similar planning controls.

What is the solution ?

The solution is to overturn the obstacles to building on brownfield Metropolitan Open Land. The problem is that if we simply build we will create the same problem that we have, ie that nobody will be able to afford the new homes as they will require large mortgages. What is required is that properties are sold but the land is rented from the government or local authorities that own the land. This property should be available to residents only not to speculators or buy to let. The properties should be sold for their build value, £50k for a maisonette, and then the land rented for approximately £500 per month per unit. The government could sponsor the mortgages on this as they do on social housing.

What is our plan to achieve this ?

This issue falls under the control of the mayor of London. The plan of Homes 4 Workers is to obtain a pledge to actively support the candidate of a London mayoral candidate who supports the proposals of Homes 4 Workers. By this approach we hope to get the ideas discussed in the 2012 mayoral election and put pressure onto the system to resolve this issue.

If the plan works what will happen to the land rental revenues – even if you build only 50,000 houses based properties that would generate over £10 billion per annum from currently empty fields ?

The money would need to be redistributed as a poll rebate to the residents of the boroughs in which the properties were built as a poll or per head rebate. A large proportion of residents of outer London boroughs would receive significant monthly income. This is necessary to offset a fall in their property values that would result from the plan.

Or you could carry on supporting the idle rich !

750,000 British people live in Spain. Two thirds are economically inactive. The vast majority are of working age. For the most part they eat well, dine out and drink fine wine. Many have swimming pools. For the most part they live off property rental or the profits of past property speculation in the UK. Every time you put a meal on your table you have to pay for this. The payment takes the form of rent. When you pay your rent part of it is based on the cost of providing the property but the largest part is the rent of the land. This rent may be paid to the overseas owner or someone who purchased from them at inflated prices. This is where the money comes from. Not all property speculators live in Spain but the same principle forces you to pay for the luxuries of long term property holders if you do not own property. It’s too late to solve this. We cannot turn the clock back and start charging land rent on existing properties, but lets do what we can to alleviate the problem in future.

Who is behind Homes 4 Workers ?

Homes 4 Workers is created by the people for the people. It is not funded by the building industry, nor do we seek external funding. We are ideolgical and is linked to the geolibertarian movement. Homes 4 Workers is organised by people who are or have been directly affected by land prices. We seek an electoral route to solving this problem.

Make the pledge to work for a London mayoral candidate who will support these policies. This would be for one month of evenings and weekends in the spring of 2012. This will put pressure on all political parties to address the needs of those who cannot afford to buy a house in London.