Cameron’s 10,000 new homes won’t hide the problem

Beth Sutcliffe, Private tenant

David Cameron has announced that his government will directly commission and possibly build 10,000 new homes. He has spun this massive u-turn as a “radical” plan and a “huge shift in government policy”.

But even though this shows some acceptance of anger on housing, the policy is woefully inadequate. It will go nowhere near countering the problems facing most of the population.

Like most people who are living in rented accommodation, I have had to deal with a pervasive mould and damp problem, and completely uncaring landlords and estate agents. Any issue you have is dealt with only after three or more complaints, and then it is ‘solved’ cheaply and without lasting effect.

And most ridiculously of all, the prices we pay for this service are higher than ever. This leads to painful overcrowding in the homes that are available.

Two fifths of Cameron’s promised homes are billed as having a discount of 20% for first-time buyers. But Britain’s outlandish property market means this will still exclude the majority.

Even if you earn the average national wage of £26,500, 91% of housing in England and Wales would still be beyond your means. A one-fifth discount on a tiny number of new homes is a pitiful reaction to this massive issue.

Council homes

Even under Thatcher, the state built on average 41,343 council houses – not discounted private houses – every year. Modern Tory policy aims to eradicate what social homes are left after decades of sell-offs. This is the thrust of their housing bill.

The Socialist Party calls for a massive building programme of publicly owned housing with democratically decided rents. We want quality homes that will be affordable for everyone, not investment opportunities for millionaires.

To add insult to injury, multimillionaire Cameron also said he is fearful for the future of his own children. He disingenuously claimed he worries they might not make it onto the housing ladder.