Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Labour Party's Halfway Housing Hokum

One thing Karl Marx made clear was that first principles don't add up to much if they are not backed by a sound working theory. Jeremy Corbyn is very quick to flaunt his socialist credentials but it has become clear that he has no idea of what a coherent theory of socialism for the 21st century should be. He doesn't seem able to define the role of a socialist government in relation to public services, economic production or social welfare. The Labour Party's new housing proposals seem to be another example of him lacking the rigour to define a fair and responsible approach without alarming a section of the electorate.

Labour's new housing policy proposes more action against 'rogue landlords', more new builds including social provision and reversing housing welfare reforms. These sound appealing but are mostly populist attempts to sway voters rather than a genuine effort to reform housing policy. Focus mostly on building more homes for sale will further the ambitions of the middle class and increase urban purge of poorer working class groups. There's no mention of support for sustainable housing.

A genuine socialist housing policy would come up with rent control proposals for inner city and urban areas, scrapping of right to buy policy and targeting help to buy solely at essential staff. That way low income and young people have improved access to affordable rental accommodation in accessible areas. It will also ensure that social housing is targeted at those most in need. This will provide an opportunity to reform council housing allocation policy.

While these Labour proposals will do some good; yet again Corbyn sacrifices coherence for convenience. Housing requires both policy reform and attitudinal change. A cohesive policy that will change things for the better for the most people over the longest time is what is needed. The Labour Party's proposals offer little more than more of the same.

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