The Home Front: The Battle to House Britain Newsnight

The Home Front: The Battle to House Britain

Emily Maitlis hosts a Newsnight special dedicated to the UK housing crisis. The government says the housing market is 'broken' as it brings forward its Housing White Paper.

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The first peoples houses are ready for Harold Macmillan to inspect.


Built in 12 weeks for less than ?1000 each. You don't have to have


great architecture to make a great place to live. But Londoners could


learn to be grateful that so much of the new architecture has been as


good as this. The leader of the GLC looked on as Mrs Thatcher defended


their sales policy. She left to a chorus of chance. It is very


depressing. When they say the price range,... Two-bedroom flats in this


Chelsea Street are going for seven times their original price. It is


about making money, why should I feel bad? The government said it had


cut the average cost of a mortgage by 100 and pounds per month from


1990. House prices have gone up so much that you cannot get a deposit


together, you cannot get a mortgage from a bank or building society.


Everything is too expensive. We need every single penny. It is gone


before we even think about it. For far too long, we have not built


enough houses. Relative to population size, Britain has had


Western Europe's lowest rate of house building for three decades.


Not every job comes with its own central London accommodation -


rent free and walking distance to work.


Britain's housing crisis is legendary: Unaffordable,


unattainable and - it sometimes feels - insolvable.


Tonight, we dedicate the whole programme to housing -


hearing from people forced into emergency accommodation, people


who can't afford to buy a home, and people seeking radical measures


to stop second home owners where they live.


We'll get reaction from the Housing Minister.


And I'll be asking him what the government's plans today


House prices are a national obsession for good reason.


An average terraced house in England and Wales cost ?41,000 in 1995.


A similar house in London moved in price from ?74,000 in 1995, to


Had the price of hamburgers risen with house prices


over that time, a Big Mac would now cost ?7.75.


Some of the effects of high house prices are


For example the 2011 census revealed the first ever decline in


Some of the effects though, are much more


For example, academic research suggests that these high


house prices are probably depressing the number of children that young


It really matters in a very fundamental way that young


people are currently paying very high rents to landlords and


struggling to put together the deposit required to own their own


Here is a graph showing how much London first-time buyers had to


save in the late 1990s for a deposit.


It starts just under 20% of their income.


Now here is a line for the North West.


It is lower down because things are bit easier there.


In the north-west, it is 50%. This is partly about supply. This line


shows the growth in the housing stock going back two centuries. You


don't need to look too closely, what you need to notice is that we never


get very far above 1% a year for very long. And, since the 1980s,


that chronic problem of undersupply has got even worse. The green belt,


we have identified areas of the country which are near to major


centres of employment and underdeveloped and we have


designated them as hard to build on. Furthermore, we had problems with


local authorities. Remember, they are elected by people who live in


areas now, not who live in them for years to come and that makes them


against development. Some have even gone as far as the junior open


population projections of the can planning applications.


The Bank of England estimates that the


cost of borrowing for someone with 25% equity in their house was 8.75%


Then it was 5.6% in 2007, then 2.98% in 2017.


That easy credit is a major part of explaining the


There's plenty else for governments to do.


While the share of people renting has risen, for example,


the rules on renting don't really reflect that.


Housing is an area that sees lots of little initiatives, but


That was Chris Cook, our policy editor.


He's with me now, as is our Political Editor, Nick Watt.


We got that large package of measurements from the government


today, how did they add up? The White Paper is very striking in the


sense in which it echoes. The government accepts there is a


housing crisis and accept that rents are too high and affordability is a


problem and it says things like this is what we are worried about for the


future and it is happening now. In that context, it is very striking,


that the measures don't really seem to add up to the urgency of the


message. There are for example, nothing much on the green belt, not


a lot on rental regulation, what is most interesting, is quite an odd


narrow bed. I mentioned in the package, some councils effectively


forged their own estimates so they can say, we do not need those new


houses and they can protect their own little corners. The government


will not let them do that potentially as we go forward. What


that might mean is you will end up with situations where green belt


places in the north and north-west will suddenly find they have been


told they need to build more houses and they will find they have a


choice between identifying their beautiful town centres or building


on what might be scrubby green belt and that might be a wedge by which


we can move the argument about places we should protect and places


we shouldn't protect going forwards. What do you think is driving this


fundamentally? It is quite something when a government in its seventh


year describes a fundamental area of as broken and that is what Theresa


May has done in the White Paper. Is delivering on the commitment she


made when she launched her bid for the Conservative leadership last


summer. When she was trying to get and replace David Cameron, she


almost cast herself as an opposition leader Wendy said she wanted to lead


a country for everyone, not just the privileged few. She pledged sweeping


programme of reform and near the top of the list was housing and there


was a bit of a jibe at David Cameron, she said you would never


solve that problem unless you narrowed the gap between those who


inherit and those who do not inherit. Wind forward seven months,


we have similar rhetoric today from the Prime Minister, but the big


question is does it match the substance? There are Tories who are


happy tonight that the green belt seems to be OK, but there are other


Tories who are wondering whether Sajid Javid and Gavin Barwell, went


back to first principles, dreamt up a grand plan, but essentially, the


plan has come in under expectations. Take land banking, this is the


hoarding of land by developers, one of the big things that really holds


up house building and there are some people saying that unless you


actually punished developers for according land for many years, you


will never do with it. These concerns are being voiced by


Conservatives, but there is one person who is able to talk freely


and criticise the Shadow Housing Minister and I spoke to him earlier


and this is what he told me. Today was a plan that was beyond


belief and what we should have had from ministers was not a priority


after seven years. Sajid Javid told the House


of Commons to have a proper conversation about housing need


and what we needed was a big programme to build more affordable


homes to rent and to buy. Joining us here now,


three people who speak for thousands more in the problems they've


encountered finding a home. They'll put their concerns to


Gavin Barwell, Minister for Housing, Sam Oakley, Nicola


Stone, Camilla Hayle, Thank you very much for coming in


and I am going to start with you Nicola. Try and claim to the


Minister and those watching, what you are going through, your daily


commute and your problems with housing. I moved out of private


renting to live with my parents. I commute an hour and 20 and I am a


teacher. I am trying to save money, that has been offset by the amount I


paid to commute. That is each way, twice a day and you start work


presumably early. Eight o'clock. It is a 12 hour day. Sam, give us a


sense of where you are? My partner and I have been living together for


a few years and we have good jobs, decent money, but we cannot save a


penny, frankly. We save as much as we can but it is not anywhere near


scratching the surface of what we need for a deposit. You are in


private rented accommodation? Yes, for five years. I would save 40% of


our income goes directly on rent. That is before taking into account


other bills. Even though you're trying to buy as a couple? Exactly.


We have looked at other options including shared ownership. The


costs of that are staggering. Camilla, give us a sense of where


you are? You moved back in with your mother. Yes. I have lived at home


for seven years. I have been saving since then. I have got a healthy


deposit but because of my income I cannot afford to buy a house that is


suitable for my needs because I am disabled. I spoke to the council


about their disabled accommodation and how I might be able to get help


and they said I had saved too much money to


get help from them, so I am stuck in accommodation that is not suitable.


You're not even on the ground floor. Top floor and if I cannot walk at


that time, I am stuck in the house for several weeks. What do you need


to hear from the Minister and what do you want to see in the paper


today that will start to solve the problem for you? I would like


something that things about the predicament that disabled people are


in, it is hard to get accommodation that suits our needs that is


affordable. You have got all these restrictions. I have to be near


family. We need something that helps disabled people that are working and


trying to save and that gives them a boost. Sam is there enough in this


document that you have seen that made you think that there was


progress? I think the idea of building more houses is fantastic


and building more houses on the green belt, if you ask anyone from


my generation, they will welcome that warmly. That is a positive


thing. The problem for us is the difference that that will make to


house prices, that is so many years away. It will be a generation before


that will have any impact. I like the lifetime- and think it is a


great policy. I currently use the help to buy and the air nears you


cannot use that until after a deposit so it does not help in that


sense. The lifetime ISA will change that. It still feels a very long way


away. Nicola, what do you want to get or here. What is missing. The


main thing that struck me is the idea of building homes on the right


places, but but -- but I think that working in a certain area, I want to


be near enough to my community as a teacher so that I can be a part of


it and that is not necessarily possible if you work in London or


anywhere that has high housing pricing. Whether there is scope to


build in the right place for me is something that is really important.


There is a lot of optimism from these people. That is despite


government recognising that this is a crisis and that your shadow was


not quite so generous. He said it was a feeble document. Lord Kennedy


said it is a Lemsip approach. There was so much expectation on this.


There was so much acknowledgement of the problem and a half-hearted


attempt today to solve it. I would not describe it as half-hearted. It


is not surprising that the Labour Party will not welcome the proposal


but if you look at the reaction from Shelter or the chartered Institute


of Housing, they have John Healey called it a white flag,


he said you have surrendered. You know that people like this are never


going to buy a house before the age of 40 so it is all about renting. We


have not surrendered, there is a change of emphasis. Historically


people spoke of the party of home ownership. But we have to have an


offer to people who are renting as well. So why did you not go further


on some of the things that Labour has done? Labour is saying returned


to regulation of the Private rental market. Looking at history you can


see where that leads, a smaller rental sector. We are trying to


change the market, banning and front cost and trying to encourage new


people into building private rented accommodation with greater security.


So there is a package to try to make renting more secure and affordable.


You talked about 30 years of inaction and then all the words you


use today are about encouraging or examining the operations for


reforming the system and developing contributions, consulting, closely


monitoring, obligating utility companies. These are incredibly


tentative. Consulting on requiring local authorities, I could go on but


nothing that says there any commitment. There are some clear


commitments and the white paper. For example introducing a standard


methodology for how we calculate and making sure local councils do not


stop those tough decisions and release land. What about land


banking, that could have been so simple. What to think we could have


done? Put a tax on it. You have 200,000 homes you know RMT, why


cannot these three people move to them tomorrow. First if you were


running a development company you would need to have a land bank.


Shareholders need that. So it is less the existence of land banks but


how big they are because it takes too long to starting a scheme to


building it out. And for me the bigger problem is when they start on


site it is too long to then build a scheme out. The white paper has


specific proposals to make people build much quicker. People look at


the Tory government and remember Thatcher, she promised everyone the


right to buy and you are promising everyone access to a consultation


and these guys have acknowledged that even if new building began


tomorrow it is too late for them. We're promising far more than a


consultation. Just something short of 40,000 people have helped to buy


their own home. So you're happy customer not at all, the white paper


is clear we have made progress but nowhere near good enough. If all


three of the people you have tonight on the panel who live in south


London as I do, and they represent thousands shut out by the housing


market. So I'm not going to sit and say I'm satisfied. Ayew reassured?


To a certain degree, I think the main problem is the generational


issue. And also the costs going into buying a house, if we could get a


deposit together then it is an extra 15 grand in fees on top of that.


Whether stamp duty or whatever. It would've been great to see something


on duty. Whether it helps old people downsize or helps young people get


into their first home. I would like to have seen that in that paper. We


are taking action on stamp duty to reform the system so ordinary people


are paying less than they would have paid a few years ago. Of course I


understand it is an additional cost. We need to make the home buying


system fairer. Do you want to come back one other point is that the


Minister has made? I think there has been nothing there for disabled


people. And there are young disabled people just like me with the same


problems these guys have but then our own problems on top. Just


nothing, that is not considered a lot of the time in policies. This is


a concern, we changed this area of policy so now there are


accessibility standards that councils are required to use. There


are higher standards that they can apply. It is not the case that you


need every home to be at the higher level. If we did it would make the


supply problem worse. But we need to make sure there are sufficient homes


for people like Camilla. She lives in London and the Greater London


authority has applied these standards. But she raises an


important point, not just about the total number of homes but getting


the right mix of homes for the changing demography of our


population. Thank you for coming in. We're going to keep the minister


here as we explore what happens In the next film we meet three


individuals, each kicked out of their private lodging,


when things got tough. In one case, with


a two day old baby. They were residents of


Waltham Forest in North East London, They were moved out


to the Hertfordshire town of Welwyn Garden City and given


a studio room in which to This is Boundary house,


Welwyn Garden City, There is 45 studio flats


here and as I know, This is the single room where me


and my two kids sleep. This is a studio flat,


and you've got two children? My partner and I were living


in a property with the kids and he got into some trouble


and he's in prison at the moment. And they evicted me


from the property because it was And I got evicted, went


to the council, spent Until about 6:30 in the evening


they told me they were sending I'd never heard


of this place before. What did the council said,


because presumably you've spoken to the council


about the cramped conditions here? Yes, I e-mailed them


because when you phone them, I e-mailed them from October


and nobody responded to me. Why did you move


here, what happened? I don't know, I put in a request


for emergency accommodation. I've lived the last, what, ten years


in the borough, in Waltham Forest. And I have obviously a connection


there, I studied there, My whole family is there,


my whole family. I have no-one within minimum an hour


from here, no-one at all. My biggest worry is the heating,


obviously because, like, she needs to sleep warm at night


and she doesn't. I mean, if I'm cold,


I can imagine how she is. I don't even know how


it functions properly. It has come on, which was probably


four days ago the last The day I was discharged


from the hospital I came here around Right, there was electric and gas,


but there was no heating. So I phoned the emergency number


at ten o'clock at night and let And the room was freezing cold


and they said all they can They said they would get back


to me in the morning. 11 o'clock came and no one came


so I had to phone them again and they said they had


no message recorded. Abigail, I've just been visiting


some of the women in the block. They've been moved here


from central London. Can you tell me how long


you've been here for? I've been here for


almost three years. So this year in March will be three


years since I've been here. How did you end up


here, what happened? I used to rent privately


and the landlord realised I was pregnant and he didn't want


any babies in the property. And the council was like, we don't


have any properties available, the only thing we can do is just


send you off to Hertfordshire. Basically everything


is in the same room. The kitchen, the bedroom,


the sitting room, everything, And then this is basically


the living room which is I work in London as well so it


hasn't been easy for me to keep Travelling like, 20 miles to work


every day is a nightmare. I spend more than half my wages


on transportation fees. My older daughter, Maya,


she knows that way we live is different from where most people


live because every time we go to other places there is a separate


kitchen and a separate bathroom and a separate living


room and bedroom. She notices the difference


between there and this place. Obviously she's a girl growing up,


she wants to play around, she wants to have a normal life


like a little girl, Waltham Forest council told us


they do all they can to house people in the borough and it's working


to repair any substandard Joining me now, Roger


Harding from Shelter, And Gavin Barwell,


Housing Minister. Your thoughts? There is the most


shocking illustration of the scale of the problem we're trying to


tackle. Going back years ago the most common reason for homelessness


would be relationship breakdown and today it is people losing private


rented sector tenancy. The last lady in the clip is someone who is


working. She had a job but simply cannot find any accommodation she


can afford. This is everywhere, something you've recognised


throughout the UK. Throughout the country and not confined to London.


Seen the full range of the housing crisis from people at the sharpest


end of it. To raise children in one room, younger people priced out,


children living at home with their parents longer than they should have


too. Could this be solved if more council homes were built? Definitely


but also a range of genuinely affordable homes. We're not good


enough and the homes we are building are not affordable at the moment to


many people on low to middle incomes. One of the reasons for that


is land is too expensive. We have a development model that encourages


developer -- developers to bid for Elan. The one who wins is the most


bullish about what they can charge and minimising contributions to the


local community. The simplest way then to get that supply of housing,


the easiest way to allocate housing to those who need it and make it


fair and affordable is to let councils build. That is part of the


answer and the white paper says that. It is not the only solution,


because people want the opportunity to own themselves. But if you look


at the rising level of homelessness that is definitely part of the


answer. But at the moment there is the borrowing cap. They can do that


through housing companies, there is extra money in the white paper and


also housing associations can help people. There's an added ?1.4


billion in the Autumn Statement and Willis and also to housing charities


that said the budget was just shared ownership. At the moment they cannot


increase the amount they borrow because it goes on to the national


sum. Why not let them...? this is something for future


generations, it is not about more debt for the country, it is about


solving the crisis. It is additional government borrowing and we need to


find other ways to get around the problem. It's if you look at the


capital budget we have for housing, we are going to double it. They do


not even keep the proceeds from right to buy. Why could they


not keep 100%. We use some of that money to pay off debt but we give


them enough money to replace it. Historically with Right To Buy, it


helped people, but the homes were not replaced and since we


reinvigorated it, we have insisted that those homes need to be


replaced. The consequence of not doing this issue push more people


into the private sector. You have admitted you cannot regulate it


enough. We need more affordable housing. We are doing that, putting


an extra money and the budget is increasing. The money that we have


given, is the biggest ever budget London has had for affordable


housing. The new money is definitely very welcome. It is great to see. We


could be a lot more ambitious on this. After the Second World War,


the country was genuinely on the verge of bankruptcy, we managed to


have the ambition to build a huge new generation council homes, and we


build a wide variety of homes and we have lost that will and drive to


create that. The White Paper today asks a lot of the right questions,


but what I would really like to see from the government is that the


government comes up with answers because it is a consultation, not a


firm set of proposals. It is hard to know what it will deliver at the


moment and we need quicker answers. We talked about being brave and


ambitious five years ago, you have had thousands of consultations and


recognise the problem, at what point do you do something that is


recognised to be a really bold and ambitious, radical move? I don't


admit that. First of all, we have done a lot, we inherited the lowest


level of house building since the 1920s and it has gone up but it is


not high enough. If you look at how you need to improve performance,


what you are looking for is a silver bullet, a single thing... I don't


think you can call it that after you have been tackling the problem for


30 years and you have been in government for seven years. It is a


slow flying paper aeroplane! We need a lot of different policy


interventions to release more land, speed up the process to building and


to diversify the range of people building homes that is what are


doing. We have done this before and we are seeing across Europe, lots of


other countries who are building significantly more than us and have


ramped up far quicker than we have done at the moment because they have


given this more of a political push then we have seen to date. We have


seen more action there and in Scotland as well around creating...


It is fear of doing anything that will upset the Tory days when you


talk about the green belt even though it is not exactly a stately


home. I agree with you entirely. It is about political priority and


Theresa May has ramped up this issue. She spoke passionately


outside the door of Number 10 about making this a country that works for


everyone and you can only do it if you fix the broken -- Brogan has a


market. What happens though if the housing


problem in this country has become too big to solve with normal


tweaks and adjustments. Grant Shapps - a fellow Tory -


admitted today the need had come for radical change -


unless we wanted to carry on having the same conversation


for another five years. Some parts of the country have


taken market regulation into their own hands -


drastic measures to cut down on out of towners buying up all the most


juicy housing stock. Evan Davies heads to both


St Ives, in Cornwall, and the island of Jersey,


to see what plans the locals have cooked up, to keep


things affordable. Jersey may be famous


for its picturesque views, But like the UK it's far more


a financial services economy In fact, it's a tiny


microcosm of Britain. It's only 100,000 people,


but it's well off and a magnet The other feature of this place


is that it's very densely populated. It doesn't always feel like it,


but it's actually three times We could take another


100 million people and still be So it's crowded, lots of people


want to come here, that creates So complex rules here governed


the allocation of homes. Providing a form of immigration


control and protecting the locals. You either qualify as having full


access to the housing A local estate agent


explain the basics. As a qualified local you are free


to rent or purchase any property, there is no entry level,


there is no ceiling. As an unqualified person


or somebody new to the island, that's not coming here


through an employer, they unfortunately had to rent


at the lower end of the market and spend ten continuous years


here paying tax before they then become a entitled to purchase


anything and everything. So we have a ten year


qualifying period before It's the development of 35 one


and a half bedroom units It is the same story


with social housing, also allocated with long-term


residents in mind. How do I get a social


property if I'm in Jersey? Well, you firstly need to meet


the criteria to be classed as residentially qualified,


so that's the ten years residency. And then the following on from that


come you need to apply to the affordable housing gateway


which has another set of criteria which just helps us ascertain


the level of need that you're actually in in order to access


the market of social housing. You probably thought


it was a market economy here. We control not only housing,


so who can buy and who can rent, by the number of years that they've


been here, we also control work and businesses through jobs licenses


and the number of jobs that they can have, again determined by the length


of time that somebody has been here. Francis is a tenant


of the main social housing She's been here decades and worked


hard as hotelier and feels I do feel I have worked


and paid taxes and really, you know, when I needed help


they were there to help me. Although before I had put a lot


back into the community. Suppose that Jersey removed


all the restrictions on housing A few more non-Jersey folk


would move in, and a few more Jersey natives would move out,


all would go off to college Well, we are used to markets


and their inequalities. We know that the rich get nice cars


and the poor maybe get none. Is it acceptable that locals can be


priced out of their own community? From Jersey to Guernsey,


even to Liechtenstein, micro-states have often controlled


entry and ownership and it's been considered and acceptable


form of self protection. But is something similar


to the Jersey method relevant Well, toes are being put


in the water here in Again, it's a nice place,


lots of people want to be here. And wealthy second home for example


want to buy houses here. The issue is not foreigners,


but it is still about the balance between outsiders


and permanent residents. There are two forms


of housing which are excluded I think if we carry on the way


we are, we are just about a generation away of St Ives


becoming a ghost town. All those people who live here,


turn this beautiful looking place into a thriving community,


would not be able to live here, therefore they wouldn't


be able to work here, the shops wouldn't get staff,


the restaurants wouldn't get staff. And as I say, it would be shut


for most of the year. Last May, they had a referendum


on a local plan to change things. Any new build, from the time


that the plan is made, and it was passed into law


on the 29th of December, any new build has to be


lived in as a whole. The effect is there


will be two markets. For existing homes, an open


market, and for new-build Only locals can buy new-build houses


and they will only be able to sell The precise effects


are hard to know. The whole thought process behind


it is completely wrong. It is going to only increase second


home value in the town, make it harder for affordability


for the local people. And land value is going to remain


very high, so the developers are going to disappear


and go elsewhere. Now you can see the


locals' difficulty. Even if they could build


loads and loads and loads of extra homes around here,


without ruining the place, well, it wouldn't solve the problem


because all that would happen is lots and lots and lots


of outsiders would come There is huge demand,


that is why they think you have to have a rule


about who gets the homes. What happens in St Ives doesn't


necessarily stay in St Ives. London has some of the same


problems, as do other crowded, Is it possible to contemplate


that these other places might resort Joining us now, Deyan Sudjic,


director of the Design Museum Daisy May Hudson, documentary-maker


Patrik Schumacher, director and principal of Zaha Hadid


Architects. A warm welcome to all of you. Is


market intervention the right way to go? It is an emergency button but is


it time to press it? I believe so. I am not speaking as an architect,


acting professionally, but as a thinker and someone who is in


various think tanks. I'm thinking about policy and thinking ahead and


looking at the White Paper and finding it is not radical enough, I


agree with the Labour Party, but it is not radical in another direction.


I would expect market processes to solve a lot of these problems, where


far too many restrictions are placed on developers. We are suspect to


unit mixers... You think it is too restrictive for those who want to


develop? I agree that the housing market is broken. But when you see


St Ives saying we will not sell new bills to out-of-towners or Jersey


saying, we have to stay here ten years before you get to buy a place


in Jersey, is that the right cure? No. That is an intervention. They


are the same problems facing parts of London were the same problems


face St Ives, that school teachers or policemen or restaurant owners


cannot afford to stay in parts of London which have come by to forget.


The market has distorted the way that we live in large parts of the


capital and other cities. This is all over the UK. The Lake District,


the Cotswolds, anywhere where there are beautiful second home villages,


should they all do this? There are two ways of welcoming foreign


investment. Some of it is bringing in money to invest build to rent and


another lot is bringing in for second homes which are also use,


they are still useful, because they are global and reporters who have


their second home to do business. When he says it is too restrictive,


too confining for developers or building, what is your sense?


Through my experience of activism around London, working with


different residents and different estates across London, I have


noticed that there are restrictions put on developers and they are still


managing to bypass them. They are not building enough affordable


housing and they are using loopholes to invest in minute amounts of money


into the community. I don't understand how taking away


restrictions would make this issue any better. What would you do? Just


a discussion with some of the colleagues on before, a lot of


younger people, professionals wanting to buy and I was asking one


of the colleagues, what kind of size of apartment would you be willing to


buy? What was sufficient to get onto the housing ladder and she said she


would go for something smaller but she said the restrictions are much


more. There are minimum sizes. Is that the answer, something very


small but gives you the sense of ownership, is about more important


than space or size and renting? We are now in such dire straits that


it is not about people wanting to own their own home but just people


need somewhere to live and call home. Home does not mean you have to


own it, it is a place that gives you security and a sense of belonging


and gives you a sense of identity. A lot of people would happily rent as


long as there was enough guidelines. I agree and I think rent


accommodation should be similar. What we build is as important as how


much. We all agree we need to build more. In 1970 we built almost


400,000 homes and Bert down to less than 200,000 now which is crazy. But


the culture has been to encourage people to increase their wealth,


through property ownership. Is that there and should we treat property


in the same way you might invest in... It is how we live rather than


how we afford our pensions. And this is a chance we have with this. I


think there's too much on ownership as a retirement savings vehicle. I


think many owners, there is a focus on the idea on people wanting to


make money from housing and ideological and that is why we are


in this mess because people are making money from the housing


crisis. So when I read what the government... Is that unethical?


Profit and loss is absolutely necessary as a signal as to whether


investment is efficient or inefficient and actually using more


resources than it delivers. But London is being wrecked by the way


private developers are forced to carry on the burden of those things


the state has stepped back from. Love high-rises around Battersea and


they're expected to play things that they should not. Add creates an area


which in ten years will be one of the slums that we are going to


regret. So at this point would you say Blunden should have the same


attitude to foreign investment whether it is rich Chinese business


people buying stuff in central London, should this city say no. The


history of planning shows the unintended consequences follow from


attempts to do things in a big way. We need to be careful what we do.


Too often we go for the quick solution. With the areas of the UK


boy slums have been demolished and rebuilt three times in one lifetime.


The political timescale is just too fast to deal with this. I have been


homeless myself with my family and to hear about housing being


discussed in such market terms does not sit well with me. It is a basic


human right. I am in contact with people who do not have places to


live, teachers, TfL workers, people who make this city work and make the


UK work and they do not have somewhere to live. So to discuss it


in terms of market and economy, it just misses the point of the kind of


issues we are seeing in the UK at the moment. That is the problem


precisely, I'm with you and my headline is housing for everyone and


more affordable housing. There are a number of policies which are


intuitively sensible which prevent this. We should think outside the


box and we need to think about economics. If we are thinking out of


the box, what is the thing for housing, the driverless cars, if you


like? Understanding what is going to be like in 30 or 40 years' time and


building things that actually last rather than be discarded in 20


years. And this discussion will be carried on life on Facebook. You can


join us as soon as we come off air on the BBC Newsnight Facebook page.


We leave you with one final take on housing,


this one from 1962 and folk singer Pete Seeger.


# They're all made out of ticky-tacky.


# There's a green one and a pink one.


# They're all made out of ticky-tacky.


# They're all made out of ticky-tacky.


Good evening to you. It is going to be turning colder over the next few


days. Not everywhere,


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