Is planning good or is planning bad?

This rather amuses:

A shortage of private accommodation in London could mean homeless people are moved as far away as Hull, where rents are cheaper, housing charities are warning. They fear there will be an exodus from the capital of people at the bottom of the housing ladder as the coalition\’s Localism Act, which comes into force this spring, empowers local authorities to place homeless people in private rented accommodation.

At least one London council, Croydon, is seeking to rent private accommodation in Hull and several other Yorkshire towns. It has also rented property in St Leonards on Sea on the Sussex coast. Other councils are predicted to follow suit, according to housing experts.

Now, the people complaining about this are those who at the same time insist that government must anticipate, plan for and produce the desired housing.

Not quite what I believe but let\’s run with it. Let us create a rational planner.

What\’s the first thing that rational planner is going to do? Note that there\’s a number of people living in London without the means to afford housing in London. And no particular economic reason for living in London either. She\’s also going to note that\’s there\’s great swathes of housing up North which is indeed affordable. And given that there\’s no particular economic reason for those in London to be in London why shouldn\’t they be on benefits up North in the much cheaper housing?

This will be, after all, greatly to the benefit of society even if a bit tough on the personal liberty side. But then that\’s what planning of all these things is about, doing what is best for society, yes?

So you can see the amusement: the Statists, the planners, those who insist that society is more important than the desires of any mere individual, are in something of a bind. The current reforms to the housing market are producing exactly what a rational planner would produce. The poor are sent off to be poor in cheap housing, individual desires be damned.

But they don\’t seem to like the outcome of that very planning that they advocate. Odd really…..

13 comments on “Is planning good or is planning bad?

  1. Oh, that one’s easy to answer. It’s because there isn’t enough planning. Specifically-

    The government should set rents at an affordable level.

    The government should provide low rent housing for all, anyway.

    The government should create jobs where they are needed.

    The government should set the wages of all workers to just levels.

    There, that’s all fixed then. Next?

  2. I agree with Ian B. Or to put it more simply, the world is screwed because I do not have the powers and authority of God. Give me those and the problem will be solved – quickly, cheaply and without too much pain. Apart from some counter revolutionaries and reactionaries who will get what they so richly deserve.

    Or so these idiots think.

  3. Or we could be really cynical about it and speculate that perhaps if inner London-Labour voters relocated to existing Labour strongholds in the North, this would reduce the number of Labour MPs and councillors in London without a corresponding increase in Labour MPs and councillors in the North.

    I’m not saying this is the reason for the reform or for the opposition to it, but it’s something to think about.

  4. The whole thing strikes me about the tension between city and country, and the divide between Conservative and Labour constituencies.

    If you’re a Labour MP and living in Islington then for many years, the people working in restaurants, serving you a latte and picking up your kids from school were subsidised by the tax payers living in the regions. The effect of removing HB is that such people are going to move out of town or pay more for their housing, so you’re going to pay more for lattes and childcare. And it’s also going to lower house prices and rent values overall.

  5. Pingback: Tim Worstall on the dilemma facing the social housing authorities « Quotulatiousness

  6. “It has also rented property in St Leonards on Sea on the Sussex coast”

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha………..

    Used to look after some bed-sitted properties down there. If the benefit scroungers of London are to be sent to join the benefit scroungers of Hastings there is at last some justice in the world.
    I will never, ever forget the girl on the top floor who’d made a hole in the ceiling & knocked the tiles off the roof so she could “Look at the stars.” then complained bitterly about the rain soaking her bed.

    They deserve each other.

  7. bella gerens – “Or we could be really cynical about it and speculate that perhaps if inner London-Labour voters relocated to existing Labour strongholds in the North, this would reduce the number of Labour MPs and councillors in London without a corresponding increase in Labour MPs and councillors in the North.”

    Like Westminster only much bigger? I like, I like a lot. I don’t believe though.

    The electoral impact must be bigger than that. A lot of Labour voters would be moved from the inner cities, that is true. But the Tories tend to be strong in the suburbs. Would their vote in the outer parts of London be diluted? They do get votes in parts of Manchester and Liverpool. Just not in the centre of those cities. So Boris is in power because London’s voters include the suburbs. The effect of people moving out would have to be so large that the centre of the city became Tory while the impact on the suburbs and on the North would not matter. I think it would be hard to say that is what would happen.

    It would badly impact Respect, as if they needed any more of a kicking right now, as they could hardly maintain their sectarian base without social housing to concentrate Muslim voters.

  8. the low water levels in the South East give yet more urgency to this need for centralised planning to move people out of London!

    However, we have had rain but the water companies let it flow into the North Sea rather than try to capture it. Yet more need for central planning!

  9. Yeah, but this goes to the heart of the “the UK property market is irretrievably fucked” issue. In London, it’s near impossible to get housing at the bottom of an investment wanking career ladder, let alone someone who is going to make a go of a lifelong career at anything much. You can’t expect people to spend their first 20 years as a primary school teacher, cleaner, or mid-competency-level office drone in Hull before moving to London. Life just doesn’t work like that.

  10. JamesV – “You can’t expect people to spend their first 20 years as a primary school teacher, cleaner, or mid-competency-level office drone in Hull before moving to London. Life just doesn’t work like that.”

    I agree the property market is insane, but why not? Why shouldn’t teachers, for instance, prove themselves out in the boonies before moving into the Big Time?

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