The assurance of the ignorance is really quite remarkable

But Murphy said it would be hard for the UK to replicate the Singapore model. “More than 80% of people live in government-owned housing so it does not need to tax people, it just charges rent. And many of its largest companies are also state-owned so, again, local taxes on profits do not matter as much as they do in the UK, because the government gets a large chuck of local profits anyway. It can offer low taxes and not have its revenues threatened. This is fundamentally different to the UK, where the government is dependent on tax.”

Amazingly, rent on public housing does not appear as a source of revenue in this estimation of Singapore’s income. The expenditure side of the budget shows significant appropriations to build the flats too. Oh, and Singapore doesn’t charge for the value of the underlying land in its state housing prices.

How much can you charge – or perhaps how much profit can be made – from rental housing if you’re not charging that land value? Not a lot I think is the answer, no? So public housing in Singapore is contributing how much to the general budget? If it’s not in fact a drain on it?

21 comments on “The assurance of the ignorance is really quite remarkable

  1. Interesting that his new assertion is that for Singapore government income funds spending.

    Is there a contradiction there?

  2. Singapore’s PM the other day:

    “Britain has developed a system of state welfare, of government role in the system where the government accounts for 40 to 45 percent of the GDP,” he said.

    “The Singapore government accounts for 16% of the GDP, maybe 17%. So to say that you’re going to be like Singapore, are you going to give up two-thirds of your government spending, state pensions and national health?”

    Now I’m up for that but it seems to contradict what Richie is saying here a bit.

  3. Singapore’s Housing Development Board develops apartments for sale on a 99 year lease. 80% of the population is housed in this manner and there’s another 10% who own privately.

  4. MC, and presumably the other 10% rent privately? And I’m guessing only the rich pay private rents or are owner-occupiers.

    With access to 80% of the stock controlled by the government it looks as much like their main instrument of immigration policy than anything else.

  5. “More than 80% of people live in government-owned housing”

    Murphy’s simplistic here.

    The government do NOT own the housing. As MC points out above, the government lets land on 99 year leases (there are a few older ones on 999 year leases).

    For all practical purposes, the house is owned by the person who has the lease as Singapore has made clear it isn’t going to be reclaiming the land at the end of the lease period.

  6. Murphy’s trying to paint a picture of ‘social housing’ but the Singapore government sells 99 year leases (there were some 999 year leases in the past) and the home owner for all practical purposes owns the land. The Singapore government won’t be termination those leases at the end of the term and in the meantime charges bugger all rent under the lese.

    Murphy talking is simplistic approach which is wrong. Who’da thunk it.

  7. “This is fundamentally different to the UK, where the government is dependent on tax.”

    But, but, oh, wait, it’s Monday 28th in a month with an “a” in it, in a year where the last two digits are a prime number and the moon is in the seventh house, so perhaps he’s right. It’s so difficult to grasp a theory which has such random rules…

  8. Have you told the senile and six fingered they were voting for a flood of cheap immigrant Labour significant private sector involvement in health care, empowering bureaucrats and trusting experts on Policy decisions ?

    Not sure I read that on the side of the bus

  9. Whither MMT ? ““This is fundamentally different to the UK, where the government is dependent on tax.”” and “his report suggests that the EU’s member states have a total tax gap of not less than €750 billion. The figure might be as high as €900 billion. ” – so according to MMT the EU should be suffering raging inflation- rather than 1.7% in december 2018 which also according to the peoples parasite is too low. Does he ever read his stuff or does it just splurge out like diarrhoea ? It would be layughable if he had an iq greater than room temperature.

  10. “…the Guardian had an article yesterday that, it transpired, was pretty much dominated by my opinions on this issue.”

    Professor Lord Emperor Murphy Almighty

  11. @Andre C – who knew the Guardian had an idiot of the week feature? though you would be hard pressed to distinguish it from the left wing garbage peddled on there.

  12. I don’t think the problem is Murphy’s ignorance – it’s just that he’s a rather stupid fellow.

  13. Is ‘chuck’ English English for “chunk?”

    Or has Murph failed to proofread again? And the Guardian failed to notice?

  14. “This is fundamentally different to the UK, where the government is dependent on tax.”
    Odd. Last week the UK government was dependent on creating money. Is this the same UK or a different one?

  15. @BiS

    Murphy has explained.

    The UK is dependent on tax ‘to control inflation’.

    Since (I) every country is dependant on tax and (ii) this controls inflation and (iii) Singapore is a low tax jurisdiction, it follows that Singapore must have rampant inflation. Singapore currently has inflation of 1.04%.

  16. many of its largest companies are also state-owned so, again, local taxes on profits do not matter as much as they do in the UK
    True of Venezuela, that is. Oh dear.
    Singapore is rather different as the State has substantial shares in the big companies, but not outright owner and operator afaik.

  17. Here’s the Singapore housing minister:

    “HDB [the state Housing Development Board] pays market rate for its land and construction costs. Hence, when it prices flats below a market rate, it incurs a housing deficit – now in the region of about $1 billion a year, including other costs such as upgrading.”
    http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/hdb-will-be-the-price-setter-khaw-boon-wan

    So no, the Singapore government doesn’t make a profit on housing; it makes a loss.

    Once again, Murphy shows his ignorance of the world outside East Anglia.

  18. Bloke in Germany said:
    “I’m guessing only the rich pay private rents or are owner-occupiers”

    My guess is that private rental might be to do with lack of immigration status. Thinking of other places, Jersey assigns all housing to different categories, with some that anyone can rent, some for locals only, some for approved ‘essential workers’, and uses that to control numbers rather than a direct immigration policy. Even easier for Singapore if most of it is government owned.

  19. HDB ownership is restricted to Singaporeans and PRs. Private rental is a free for all except that most Singaporeans can’t afford private rental. The wages are from $2,000 a month upwards and at that level you will pay zero tax and get a rebate from the state. A cheap reasonable sized private rental will be 4-5k a month depending on location, size etc.

    The state is small. My wife’s tax bill for 2018 (calendar year) arrived last week with a nice thank you note at the bottom. Compare this to the U.K. where I am now filling my return for a period that started nearly two years ago and I get told I will be fined if I don’t pay the right amount. No wonder people leave the U.K. if able.

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