Wednesday 10 May 2017

The one question politics quiz

The first thing to establish is that the question is a real one, not just something hypothetical.
  • After the Conservatives came to power in 2010 they oversaw the longest sustained decline in the value of workers' wages since records began [source - Evening Standard]. The only workers in the developed world to suffer a comparably bad slump in the value of their wages were the Greeks [source - Financial Times].
So here is the question again:
What happens when your government oversees the longest sustained decline in the value of workers' wages since records began, the lowest levels of house building since the 1920s, and the highest levels of immigration in history?
The answer

I hope you had a think about it for yourself rather than just clicking through and scrolling down to find the answer.

The relation between immigration and low levels of house building is obvious. If supply is restricted by the lowest levels of house building in almost a century and demand is increased by the biggest immigration influx in history it's beyond obvious that prices are going to rise.

Immigration is not a bad thing in it's own right, in fact immigration makes a net positive contribution to the UK economy [source - Financial Times] and they're more likely to work [source - Independent] and far less likely to rely on welfare than native Brits [source - Mirror]. The problem occurs when the government oversees a massive inflow of immigration, but does nothing to ensure there are sufficient houses, and actually sets about cutting local services and slashing infrastructure investment.

Combine the rising house prices with the most serious slump in the value of workers' wages since records began and it's obvious that housing becomes more and more unaffordable to ordinary working people.

The facts back this up: UK house prices have soared to the most unaffordable level in history [source - Office for National Statistics]. The average house now costs 7.6 times average annual earnings, as compared to 3.6 times in 1997 [source - Financial Times]. The result of this is that home ownership rates have fallen to their lowest level since 1985 [source - Independent] which is quite an achievement for the political party that used to claim that home ownership was the best way of giving people "a stake in society".

The answer is that the combination of the three factors detailed above causes a massive house price inflation bubble that means that owning your own home becomes an unaffordable pipe dream to millions of full-time UK workers who don't have the option of relying on the bank of Mum and Dad.
What we can do
  • Spread awareness of the chronic economic mismanagement of the Conservatives between 2010 and 2017. It's especially important to reach people who don't use social media. Feel free to print this article off and use it as supporting evidence. I don't care about copyright issues.

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