Under New Labour the population increased due to immigration and an ageing population but they deliberately restricted house building effectively pricing a generation out of home ownership.
Don’t get me wrong – I am a fervent supporter of immigration. Labour markets should be as free as all others should be free. More pressingly this country has a Welfare State structured like a ponzi scheme. Ergo, without immigrants over the age of 21, or the massive fundamental overhaul of the Welfare State that this government has neither the courage nor the appetite to follow through, services as most know them will cease to exist.
The building of social housing started to decline under Thatcher and New Labour ensured the development of social housing at about the same slightly dismal rate. For New Labour to open Labour markets to immigrants, whilst simultaneously restricting house building in the private sector and not factoring in an ageing population, is not just bad policy – it is down right cruel.
With two healthy Graduate salaries, my boyfriend and I can not afford the house my father could afford on a single salary at the same age. He had no degree and a wife and two children at the time. I feel more privileged than my parents in every other way and I know we’re better-off than a great many people our age. So if we’re struggling with our housing situation then I know a lot of people are too.
Stop blaming immigrants; they’re not the problem. The price of houses is directly linked to lack of supply. Had bread increased in price at the same rate as house prices, a loaf would cost just under £5. I’m pretty sure if bread were in such short supply that it was this expensive there’d be riots in the streets. There are millions of houses that do not exist thanks to continually piss poor housing policy since the end of WWII.
Alas, things look like they’re going to continue. The Help-to-Buy scheme is the policy equivalent of “You have been diagnosed with full-blown AIDS – take two aspirin and get a good nights rest.” Cheap mortgages are little comfort when the houses we need simply don’t exist.