The dude who created a Pyramid of needs?
It seems that once we are able to breathe, have food and water and physical needs met, having a SAFE, SECURE HOUSE is a primary need. It is so vital that without it we will perish. This is why I am so happy to see My Party – The Green Party preparing to tackle this most basic of issues: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/decent-homes.html
I am concerned that the last 15 years of ‘Property for Profit’ will have irrevocably damaged fair access to housing, but hope that these measures can go some way toward redressing the balance. Allowing wealthy buyers to outbid local buyers across the UK and abroad had created pockets of homelessness, poverty and ghost towns, leading to loss of local services, displaced families and generational poverty and further reliance on benefits.
At the beginning of the millennium I watched from my shabby private rented house as the public went mental for property. First time buyers were suddenly putting in offers of up to £250,000 for a flat – and it was crazy.
As interest rates went lower, prices went higher and I could not help but wonder what these hard working , ambitious young people would do if, for example they lost their job, became ill, or, heaven forbid, the interest rate were to rise?
Back in the early 90’s I bought a two-bed terraced cottage in the Midlands for £32,000 with interest rates at about 13%. At the time it took two of us working full time to manage to gather a deposit (£5k) and plan and pay for a wedding. We were not overawed by the prospect of buying our home as it was easily done back then, sadly I ended my marriage and walked away from said property, but have never been able to buy since.
I am now blessed (I never thought I would say this) to live in a Council House, run by an ALMO (Arms Length Management Operation) on behalf of the local council. I do believe we are one of very few boroughs who have not shifted all the council stock to a Housing Association. (thanks you Cheltenham Borough Homes). My rent is manageable and my house is wonderful. I am lucky and, I know in a pretty unique situation, and for that I am eternally grateful.
But what of those still on the housing list? What of my kids who are growing and have their own dreams of their future homes? (I am seriously considering building a yurt in the garden in lieu of an extension to offer more living space to my young adults and their future partners)
I am so happy to see the Green Party addressing this most vital of issues, although I wonder how it can be managed, after all we know that money controls everything, and to put ‘caps’ on rents will hurt those who are mortgaged up to the hilt and need to charge extortionate rents just to cover their outgoings.
I think stronger legislation on habitable dwellings would be a way forward. Ensuring all landlords maintain properties to an acceptable standard, or face serious penalties, rather than the tenants being penalised for daring to complain about their living conditions and facing eviction with no reason.
In my past incarnation as a Citizens Advice Bureau Adviser, housing was the #1 issue we saw on a daily basis, closely followed by debt issues. It does not have to be this way. Now, I am not a dyed in the wool socialist by any means, but I can no longer stand by and see Capitalism sending vulnerable and unprofitable individuals into eternal suffering in the way we are seeing right now.
A more equal share of the wealth, a bit of joined up thinking and limits to the amounts of extreme wealth which one person or group can command must be a way forward, and I only hope it does not take civil war or chaotic unrest to get us there. Turning back a tide is so much harder than diverting a small stream at source, yet this is the job we have ahead of us and one we must not shy away from.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this most sensitive of issues, and how you would like to see the Greens move forward with their plans.
Blessings of Brightness