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Saturday, 17 August 2013 00:00

Labour's refusal to shift left risks economic apartheid

Your recent, excellent editorial on housing (M Star August 9) stressed the need for Labour to commit itself to providing social housing, and rightly criticised the 40,000 mortgages recently acquired for the buy-to-rent brigade.

The latter will mean profit to private landlords, the continuance of high rents for people mostly ill-equipped to pay them and, of course, more taxpayers' money in the form of housing subsidies going straight to profiteers' pockets.

It will also mean yet more government money going to the banks.

Until we have a clear commitment from Labour that it will provide more social housing, implement more taxation (like the Tobin tax) and ensure continued public ownership of RBS and the East Coast Main Line, the country will continue to be run for the benefit of the banks and their shareholders.

There has to be a period of re-equalisation between the rich and the poor, or the result will inevitably be a form of "economic apartheid."

Living wages have to be the norm so that the profit-making corporations pay fairly for their labour and aren't subsidised by the British taxpayers.

Instead of offering it to the banks, the cheap money governments currently have access to could be offered to local councils directly, in the form of low or no interest mortgages.

The money would only be available on a ring-fenced basis, after the councils had detailed how and where it would be spent, how many homes would be provided and assurances that no "green" areas would be developed or sold.

The lower rents charged for such social housing would undercut the exploitative private landlords, forcing them to reduce their rent.

This would also make the buy-to-let industry less profitable.

The current government found £375 billion for the banks, with no significant improvement. The creation of at least one million council-owned homes seems cheap at the price!

Bernie Evans


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