Thursday, 23 November 2017

Enough with the wilfully out-of-context bragging already


The Conservatives absolutely love to use the impressive-sounding big number technique to bamboozle the gullible into believing that they're doing a great job.

On the face of it Philip Hammond's budget announcement that 1.1 million new houses have been built since they came to power in 2010 sounds good, but only if you completely ignore all context.


In reality, far from being something to boast about, this level of house building is actually the lowest since 1924.

What's even worse is that the Tories have delivered this piteously low level of house building at a time of extremely high housing demand.

Despite their ludicrous pledge to reduce net immigration to below 100,000 the Tories actually oversaw the biggest inwards surge of migration ever, peaking at 336,000 in 2015.


Immigration in itself is not harmful, but if the government of the day does not account for it by increasing housing stock appropriately and by improving and expanding local services in areas that experience high population growth, then it obviously creates problems.

Not only did the Tories fail to deliver the level of required house building to cope with their immigration surge, they also set about gutting funding for local infrastructure and services out of ideological adherence to ruinous austerity dogma.


Then there are other factors to consider too. Demographic changes and lifestyle changes mean that home occupancy rates have been declining for decades, with more people choosing to live alone, and fewer large (and extended) families occupying a single home. This means we need more houses per head of population these days.

 

 The result of the Tories' woeful mismanagement of the housing sector means that house prices have risen to their most unaffordable levels ever, and soared miles out of the reach of millions of ordinary working people.

In the context of such a severe housing crisis the presentation of out-of-context figures as some kind of great achievement is a massive slap in the face for the millions of ordinary working people who have been locked out of the housing market and been left to the mercy of the virtually unregulated profiteers in the private rental sector.


What's even worse is that when the Tories had the chance to help people stuck in the private rental sector out a bit, they callously voted against measures to ensure that all rented properties are "fit for human habitation".

In the end it's all just Tory smoke and mirrors. They don't really give a crap that home ownership rates have absolutely collapsed for the under-40s. They're much more interested in stoking house price inflation in order to benefit the older generations of home owners, and protecting the value of the buy-to-let property portfolios built up by the idle rentier class.

So just imagine the contempt Philip Hammond and his scrip-writers must have for the younger generations who have been priced out of home ownership that they imagine they can be duped into supporting the Tory party with such an absurd display of wilfully out-of-context bragging.



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