Newham, Stoke, ‘social cleansing’ and economic growth

Kevin Gulliver reports on the housing crisis in the UK, and its role in yesterday’s negative growth figures, dragged down by the construction contraction.

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Kevin Gulliver is the director of Birmingham-based research charity the Human City Institute and chair of the Centre for Community Research but writes in a personal capacity; his interests are social and economic policy, especially relating to housing, health, communities and inequalities

This week’s revelation London councils are shipping out housing benefit claimants to the English regions to meet their housing needs and the news yesterday that the UK is officially back in recession are surprisingly closely linked.

Housing-in-the-UK
The inability of the coalition government to cater for the nation’s housing requirements through sufficient supply of affordable housing – the last two years have seen the lowest number of housing completions since the end of World War Two – is reflected in the 3 per cent fall in construction sector output over the first quarter of the year.

This construction slump is the primary reason for the 0.2 per cent contraction in the economy overall.

Since there is a lack of social housing for waiting list applicants, Labour Newham and Tory-led Hillingdon, Croydon and Westminster admitted contacting social landlords, mainly in the Midlands, to move applicants out of the capital since they cannot afford to refer them to private landlords because of rapidly rising rents and biting benefit caps introduced by the government.

Many are calling this a social cleansing of London’s poor from more expensive areas.

Shelter research reveals the depth of London’s housing crisis with private sector rents rising at double the rate of the average London wage. At the same time there are 370,000 households on the housing waiting lists of London boroughs: 1 in 9 of the population.

 


See also:

Tackling homelessness in London 8 Apr 2012

‘Back of a fag packet’ housing policy continues 30 Oct 2011

London’s affordable housing crisis: The stats that will shock 30 Mar 2012

Time to make the housing recovery a political priority 22 Mar 2012

Cameron’s economically irrational Right to Buy relaunch won’t solve housing crisis 4 Apr 2012


 

In Newham, which sought to move 500 families to Stoke-on-Trent, 1 in 3 households are waiting list applicants.

Yet the answer cannot be to move sometimes desperate and needy people from their communities to other parts of the country which have their own housing crises.

The region where the Human City Institute operates – the West Midlands – has 184,000 on housing waiting lists and has seen the largest growth in homeless – at 14 per cent – of any English region over the last 12 months. But this is where Newham sought to relocate its 500 needy families.

Even so, the blame should be laid solely at the door of the government whose short-sighted housing and welfare policies have deepened an already grim outlook for those seeking affordable housing.

A more economically rational and ethical solution to the housing crisis and to move the UK out of recession would be to engineer a construction boom using public borrowing to provide social and affordable housing. This would help meet growing demand, create a long-term national asset on the national accounts, boost GDP and provide much-needed work for redundant construction workers.

For those sceptical of pushing up public borrowing, consider what Osborne’s £10 billion loan to the IMF could buy in housing and economic terms: 150,000 new homes, 300,000 construction jobs and stimulation of the supply chain.

Such an investment, taking into account multiplier effects, could add at least 1 per cent to economic growth over the next two years. It would also represent a return to bricks-and-mortar investment rather than lining the pockets of private landlords for extortionate rents.

 


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28 Responses to “Newham, Stoke, ‘social cleansing’ and economic growth”

  1. Political Planet

    Newham, Stoke, ‘social cleansing’ and economic growth: Kevin Gulliver reports on the housing crisis in the UK, a… http://t.co/L3tw5q8L

  2. Ali

    Newham, Stoke, ‘social cleansing’ and economic growth: http://t.co/T44W5oeI by @KevinGulliver #housing

  3. Pulp Ark

    Newham, Stoke, ‘social cleansing’ and economic growth http://t.co/JdzIBW4Z #GoodSociety #DavidCameron #GrantShapps #muslim #tcot #sioa

  4. Kevin Gulliver

    Newham, Stoke, ‘social cleansing’ and economic growth: http://t.co/T44W5oeI by @KevinGulliver #housing

  5. Martin Hinds

    Newham, Stoke, ‘social cleansing’ and economic growth: http://t.co/T44W5oeI by @KevinGulliver #housing

  6. Martell Thornton

    Newham, Stoke, 'social cleansing' and economic growth | Left Foot …: For those sceptical of pushing up public … http://t.co/itZe1kPT

  7. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Newham, Stoke, ‘social cleansing’ and economic growth http://t.co/RRTq8U8v

  8. Kevin Gulliver

    @Steve_MidHeart Good blog by Mel: see @leftfootfwd blog http://t.co/cro6kATY & our #welfarereform research http://t.co/SBrlzubS #ukhousing

  9. ip.socialeconomy

    Newham, Stoke, 'social cleansing' and economic growth – Left Foot Forward: Left Foot ForwardNewham, Stoke, 'soci… http://t.co/GSnBcig1

  10. media man

    http://t.co/4UyeflZu Newham, Stoke, 'social cleansing' and economic growth | Left Foot …: Kevin Gulliver repor… http://t.co/WAzf8Xay

  11. Anonymous

    The inability of the coalition government to cater for the nation’s housing requirements through sufficient supply of affordable housing

    ======

    There’s a typo

    The inability of the coalition government to cater for the nation’s housing requirements through increasing the demand for housing.

    If you allow unfettered mass migration, you will get problems. If you get mass migration of poor, its not surprising they want subsidised housing.

  12. Kevin Gulliver

    @JonLand24 @jules_birch Thought you might be interested in my @leftfootfwd blog? http://t.co/9USXolQq #ukhousing

  13. Anonymous

    Yes, yes, you can’t count racist. And thanks for spitting in face of every poor person who was born here. Again.

    Keep on – in reality – supporting a new transportation scheme, for natives.

  14. Anonymous

    The next time the UK condemns another country for forced migration they’ll rightly laugh in our face. Ripping people away from their family and communities is a great totalitarian tactic.

    And no, building social housing isn’t quick enough. We need to cap rents.
    And the families forcibly displaced need to be returned, with substantial compensation.

  15. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Newham, Stoke, ‘social cleansing’ and economic growth http://t.co/hj6Sn06p

  16. Shamik Das

    On housing, check out @KevinGulliver's report on Newham, Stoke, ‘social cleansing’ and economic growth: http://t.co/exPu3ovE #bbcqt

  17. Andy Hicks

    On housing, check out @KevinGulliver's report on Newham, Stoke, ‘social cleansing’ and economic growth: http://t.co/exPu3ovE #bbcqt

  18. Mark Meredith

    On housing, check out @KevinGulliver's report on Newham, Stoke, ‘social cleansing’ and economic growth: http://t.co/exPu3ovE #bbcqt

  19. Kevin Gulliver

    "@bengoldacre: #bbcqt moving London to Stoke is tougher but am suspicious of Lab council.">Check this out – http://t.co/9USXolQq #ukhousing

  20. Joe Halewood HSM

    "@bengoldacre: #bbcqt moving London to Stoke is tougher but am suspicious of Lab council.">Check this out – http://t.co/9USXolQq #ukhousing

  21. Kevin Gulliver

    Cheers for the RT @SpeyeJoe – linked to one of your blogs on private sector rents in my @leftfootfwd blog http://t.co/9USXolQq #ukhousing

  22. H. O.

    RT @leftfootfwd: Newham, Stoke, ‘social cleansing’ and economic growth http://t.co/ugM01WvC

  23. Clarebelz

    One family who were evicted from their home due to the rent caps have had to be accommodated in a travel lodge. The size of the family meant that they had to rent 2 rooms costing £69 each, a grand total for each week of £966!! And, yes, you guessed it, their former home cost much less. They also have no facility to wash clothes or make meals: this is completely unacceptable!

    It goes without saying that this policy is costing much more.

    As for migrating homeless families, I come from Stoke, albeit in a rural area, and there are just as many housing problems here. The council have refused to accept the 500 families, which is sensible. The rent cap applies here just as much, so the adjusted Local Housing Allowance rates no longer cover the full rent. For example, the ‘one room rate’ is now £44 per week: you will not find a room for that amount here, so any prospective tenants, and there will be a lot of under-35 social housing tenants and those who are under occupying who will now be forced into the private rental sector and will have to make up the difference, which will cause severe hardship.

    If homeless families are migrated here, what about homeless families, and those who will be made homeless by welfare reform here? Where are they supposed to go? This area is one of the cheapest areas to rent in the country, so if people are being made homeless here, where else could they move to that is cheaper?

    As I commented elsewhere, it seems the ultimate premise of these policies is to remove the right to a home altogether if you are poor. This has already happened in the US. People moved into tents, but these ‘tent cities’ are being cleared, all their equipment confiscated, and the people are moved on; where to God only knows. Is that what will happen here?

    Are the poor going to be continually sent around the country in search of the cheapest homes? People will have no stability in their lives, and this is bound to have serious knock on effect socially. And, it is costing this country dearly.

    We have rolled back decades of welfare rights. Whatever your attitude toward benefit claimants, many of whom work, having a roof over your head is a basic right in a civilized country like ours.

  24. Kevin Richards

    "Social cleansing or what" RT @leftfootfwd: Newham, Stoke, ‘social cleansing’ and economic growth http://t.co/fXO96kL5

  25. Kevin Gulliver

    "@LabourRoyall: Families moved…bad for families, only winners private landlords.">see my @leftfootfwd blog http://t.co/9USXolQq #ukhousing

  26. JC

    Not being a Londoner, I don’t understand why people feel the need to live in London, especially if they weren’t born there. If you have no money, surely the worst place to live is somewhere where prices are high and life is based around spending.

    Nevertheless, we have a problem with social housing. If someone buys their home (with a mortgage of course), they limit their choice to homes they can afford. Surely there should be a similar train of thought when taxpayers money is used to pay rents. I’m living on minimum wage and live within my means. Not easy – no holidays, take away every couple of months etc, but possible. I still have to pay income tax and NI to go towards someone to have a better life then I have. I thought the idea of redistribution was from the richer to the poorer, not from the hardworking to those who found the state would pay.

  27. Kevin Gulliver

    @HenryPryor @JackDromeyMP Problem is @grantshapps presiding over reduction in #ukhousing building http://t.co/3E0O9bYa http://t.co/9USXolQq

  28. Kevin Gulliver

    "@leftlinks: LabourList #ukhousing upheaval back to Thatcher http://t.co/JrUMWiPV">>you may like my @leftfootfwd blog http://t.co/9USSQLHg

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