Despite FSA protections we face a wave of homelessness

Sean O'Grady

FSA’s plans to protect homeowners from dodgy sale and rent back agreements are admirable, but they won’t do anything to prevent a wave of homelessness hitting the country in the coming months and years.

This will be because the government is capping housing benefit, which will eventually leave it inadequate to help pay for accommodation of any kind; the squeeze on local authority spending; the rise in unemployment and the repossessions that will surely arrive soon; generally rising mortgage rates, though that will be slow to feed through; and a shortage of social housing.

The basic problem is that we haven’t been building homes for the poor for a long time now, and the stock of council houses was sol d off long ago. It may well be that as a society we can no longer afford to give everyone a roof over the heads; but the consequences will be extremely distressing.

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  • Guy

    As a society we will always be able to afford to build housing for the poor. Our politicians have chosen not to. Gordon Brown to Andrew Marr: ‘look, housing is an essentially private matter’.

    Oh yeah, gordon? because planning restrictions, green belt restrictions, the church, barons, earls, dukes and princes owning half the land in the country have each been performed by those private individuals wanting to build their family a home, haven’t they?!

    We have all the stone, wood, sand, limestone we will ever need to build a grand home for all. The owners of capital do not want this to happen.

  • barncactus

    I’m not so sure about that. Exceptionally generous housing benefit has hugely boosted house prices in the UK, made parasitic BTL landlords commonplace and made it more expensive to do anything in the housing market. Of course we have a very restrictive planning system and much of the available land is in the land banks of builders. That does not help. But if we slowly withdraw HB, starting at a still generous £20k per year for a 4 bed house, we will have an effect on the housing market. I’m prepared to bet that prices will fall. Good, it’s about time!

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