Seems sensible enough

Council houses are to be taken away from rich tenants who earn more than £100,000,

Let\’s put it the other way around.

Would anyone actually design a system in which people in the top 2 or 3% of the income distribution received a public subsidy to their housing? For that what we\’ve got, and if we wouldn\’t design a system so then getting rid of that flaw in the system we have seems sensible enough.

There\’s an interesting corollarly to this as well. It\’ll put a cap on the sort of salaries that various political leeches are willing to charge. Lee Jasper for example, famously lived in a council house while being paid £115,000 as Ken\’s \”get out the black vote\” peep. He\’d now only be willing to charge £99,999 for such services, meaning that we\’re £15,001 to the good right there.


Bob Crow, the militant leader of the RMT union, chooses to live in a council house in London despite his pay and perks package as union general secretary totalling more than £140,000. The rent is estimated to be around £150 a week – a figure that would be much higher in the private sector. His spokesman recently said that Mr Crow makes “no apology” for living in social housing.

The idea just gets better and better, doesn\’t it?

6 thoughts on “Seems sensible enough”

  1. Well, ’tis an interesting problem, property and housing. On the one hand, you’ve got your overtly subsidised housing, nominally for the poor, or the deserving poor, or what have you, and that is open to various obviously strange results like obviously rich people in it.

    But then you’ve got that massive, but not overt, State subsidy to property owners, who lobby and campaign mercilessly to retain it, in the property price spiral, which is driven entirely by State policy.

    I am one of those libertarians who wants to start at the top, rather than the bottom. I think it becomes fair to force the lower classes to face harsh free market realities, at that point when you’ve made the wealthiest face them.

    So, let’s start by freeing the market. Let’s abolish the planning regulations that prevent house building. Let’s tell the NIMBYs to fuck off. Let’s have no more of “evil developers aren’t going to compete with my overinflated house’s resale value, I mean, “ruin the green belt with housing estates””. And let’s stop printing funny money and pumping it into the mortgage market, so people can borrow a king’s ransom to buy a pile of bricks, secure in the knowledge that the government will as a matter of policy inflate the price of the pile of bricks to even more obscene levels.

    Let’s get a free market in property, a real one. Then we can worry about the council houses.

  2. And then just set council rents at private levels. Housing benefit will look after the poor. Why have two systems for subsidising housing.

  3. What Mark says – charge commercial rents and HB will deal with the low paid in a progressive fashion.

    Funny how Lefties will hue and cry at such a system.

    Tim adds: It does amuse me when my own arguments pop up in the comments section after they’ve spent a month or two roaming around the blogs……

  4. I wrote a paper saying much what Mark said, about 8 years ago.

    You could then scrap the whole system of capital grants for social housing (and the related bureaucracy), because social housing providers would then be able to borrow commercially to build new houses.

    Result – more social housing and better housing for the poor.

    Tried to get the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to publish it, but no luck. Wonder why?

  5. I like the idea in principle, but £100K is an arbitrarily high threshold. If you are earning half of that you should start paying a sharply escalating rent for your council house. based on your disposable income. And don’t apply an upper limit to the rent.
    That way, the council house will become a liability, and the tenant will move out, or the council will gain a bonanza.

  6. This bit is amazing
    “In Westminster, the rent on an average four-bedroom council home would be around £137 per week. However, if the same property was rented privately it would be £1,600 a week. That amounts to a subsidy of £1,463 a week or £76,076 per annum. ”
    Why should anyone get rent which is £70k p.a. below the market rent?
    As someone who would like to live in a house in Westminister but can not afford to, I would like the houses I part own to have the highest possible return. Not to give someone else a lifestyle the rest of us cannot afford.

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