Ritchie made a claim about Singapore

So I thought I would check it:

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.”

I did think that was odd. So I went and asked the Singapore Ministry of Finance:

“The Housing Development Board (HDB) is Singapore’s public housing authority, and its main function is to provide affordable quality housing. HDB does not profit from the provision of public housing. HDB’s public housing programme incurs deficits, which are covered by Government grant, as reflected in HDB’s published financial statements.

In addition, we would like to clarify that vast majority of HDB flats are sold. There are various Government grants to encourage home ownership through public housing. In the Financial Year 2017, the estimated percentage of Singapore residents living in HDB flats is about 80%. Approximately 98% of this group are staying in sold HDB flats. Only about 2% are staying in rental flats.

To answer your question directly: Government funding, from the general budget is provided to HDB to cover its overall deficit.”

That is, Ritchie’s spouting bollocks. Again. Wonder when we’ll see the reverse ferret here. For we’re certainly not going to see an apology, are we?

13 thoughts on “Ritchie made a claim about Singapore”

  1. A government with its own currency and central bank could create as much housing as it needs, and if it created a surplus of houses it could use inflation to take care of that.

    I have solved the housing problem.

    Next: famine.

    A government with its own currency and central bank can create as much food as it needs, and if… (continues in a similar pompous manner)

  2. An interesting reference to Britain after leaving the EU; “We won’t be able to stop people leaving”

    Not a feature of the EU we have heard of from Remain?

  3. Slightly off topic but I have always meant to look into

    1. how much hong kong government funding comes from land ownership [if you like the non-distortionary benefits of using a property tax to fund government then government ownership of land – i.e. 100% of land revenues – must be even better. Note, as with all property taxes it is the transition in tax regime that is the big issue.]

    2. Do the singaporeans sell freehold or long leasehold interests? i.e. for a city state of apartment blocks how do they solve the coordination problem of knocking down old buildings in order to build something newer, shinier and taller?

  4. @isp001

    The HK government makes a ton of money from land “auctions” (actually leases), around 25% of government income. However that money goes into the public works fund rather than general spending and so right now is a huge pile of cash (over HKD 1tn more than needed to maintain the currency peg). Hence we are building expensive underground trains, bridges and reclamations to tie us to the mainland and fund the tycoon and mainland conglomerate building vested interests rather than spending it to help the poor.

    Add on the supposedly market correcting property stamp duties that make a ton more money and the HK government is currently violating the Basic Law by running a huge structural surplus.

    The days of JJ Cowperthwaite and positive non-intervention are long dead unfortunately. The experiment worked well while it lasted.

  5. This statement of Murphy’s needs to be saved for future reference, in case in future he tries to assert authorship of MMT as his original work.

    “But let’s be clear, the Green New Deal was created before I’d heard of MMT.”

  6. An interesting reference to Britain after leaving the EU; “We won’t be able to stop people leaving”

    Why would we want to*?

    * Excluding obvious categories such as criminals on the run, etc.

  7. “So I went and asked the Singapore Ministry of Finance:”

    Journalist doing journalism? It will never catch on.

  8. And even if 90% of Singaporeans rented from the government, I would expect it to be like a UK Housing Revenue Account, and a self-contained trading body, not a cash pot for outside non-housing operations to dip into. (cough!)studentgames(cough!)

  9. isp001 said:
    “Do the singaporeans sell freehold or long leasehold interests? i.e. for a city state of apartment blocks how do they solve the coordination problem of knocking down old buildings in order to build something newer, shinier and taller?”

    Long leasehold, I believe, although there’s a statement along the lines that they don’t intend to kick people out at the end of the lease, so I would guess the intention is to rebuild and grant new leases to the former leaseholders.

    But a lot of their new buildings are on new land – they’ve increased their land area by something like 25% since independence.

  10. Isn’t something like approaching 20% of the UK’s housing stock state owned?

    If so, perhaps the learned Mr Murphy would enlighten us on why the UK government needs to continually scrounge for money?

  11. @ Agammamon
    Because the purpose of the council-/state-owned housing is to subsidise the tenant. Originally it was to provide decent housing to the poor, now it is to provide subsidised housing to those selected by the council/government (although I bet Philip May would prefer to live in his own house at his own expense)..

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