I keep waiting for someone in the Labour Leadership contest to pick up on housing as a key issue. That they haven’t is probably as much a reflection of the fact that its a classic wicked problem (with tenticles that reach far into economic policy).
Angela McGowan of the Den Danske Bank nails the wickeness of the GB problem as well as anyone I’ve seen elsewhere, not least by contrasting it with Northern Ireland where the public sector is still taking up a significant part of the slack through the Housing Executive:
The new UK government has introduced some small housing policies in the July budget which are aimed at improving the supply of housing. For example, local authorities were given more power around planning and a new zonal system is also to be introduced to encourage more building on brown-field sites. But don’t expect these small policies to change the GB housing landscape anytime soon.
The housing problem in Britain is currently being exacerbated by the fact that any housing supply side policies are being pitched against other UK government policies which are fuelling the demand side of the housing market. For example, the government’s recent budget announcement that homes worth up to £1m will be exempt from inheritance tax will further encourage people to invest in bricks and mortar.
The Conservatives’ pre-election ‘Right-to-Buy’ promise for council tenants will also put additional pressure on the supply of social housing and force many social tenants into the private rented sector where rents are higher.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty