Thursday, 20 October 2011

Whose home is it anyway?

A report by a new 'charity', the Intergenerational Foundation (IF), has been referred to by both Politics Home, the Guardian and the BBC. The Intergenerational Foundation was only incorporated on 23rd February 2011, consequently there are no accounts yet available so we have no knowledge who is funding this 'charity'. When we look at their advisory board we find amongst their number a Director of Priced Out, a housing campaign for first-time buyers, and an Associate Fellow of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), the latter being a left-wing think-tank; together with two journalists from the Guardian and the Head of Society and Social Change at the National Centre of Social Research and who manages the team responsible for the British Social Attitudes Survey - this person is also currently the UK Co-ordinator of the European Social Survey.

This report by the IF is basically stating that the older generation living in large houses on their own - consequently with unused bedrooms - should down-size to smaller property thus freeing up the market for those wishing to buy homes. This begs a few questions;
  • Surely by down-sizing such people are purchasing homes that are more in the range of first-time buyers?
  • Who would buy those larger homes? Possibly property developers to convert into flats, or demolish and replace with two or more 'executive' homes? Which brings into question the position on the advisory board of the Director of Priced Out whose campaign no doubt is backed by property developers?
  • There is no doubt an element of those living in large houses to 'will' the property to their children, thus providing for them and their families?
  • Just who is to decide how many bedrooms any one, or two, people need? Is the IF advocating a Property Police? 
What we have here is yet another 'charity' attempting to dictate social policy, hence the earlier question of who is funding this outfit because cynic that I am, I detect the hand of government being involved here, regardless of ministerial protestations. Just ask yourself how often government has used 'charities' to provide pressure on public opinion, build up a 'fire-storm' of public concern and then turning round and saying that they, the government, have to act?

As with much in our society today, especially where charities are concerned, this latest 'charity' has a distinct aroma attached!

Afterthought: And nobody start commenting on the nimbyism aspect - please!


john in cheshire said...

Perhaps the people involved in this 'charity' could pioneer this policy and show the rest of us how it works.

andy5759 said...

I saw this yesterday, so decided to have a look at Fake Charities, they haven't got it on their site yet. I did try submitting a request for them to investigate using the IF Charity No. Apparently they have already had such requests. I will keep an eye on the site for further developments.

Anonymous said...

Tessa Jowell is mixed up with this outfit. Wasn't she the git whose husband was taking money from Berlousconi. She then claimed to have seperated from him but they are pretty much still an item. Has she like the rest of the political filth got loads of her own houses?

TomTom said...

Only Benefit Claimants can afford to live in these large homes - or journalists who desperately want to acquire established properties...

Restoring Britain said...

One of the trustees of the charity is Angus Thomas Hanton. A quick look at the site below shows Mr Hanton to be a director at several organisations, either as a director, a researcher or a gentleman (no idea!).

The fascinating bit is a quote I found from whom I believe to be the same person on the Hardcore effect site which goes:

“Let’s take my own house [which] I bought 16 years ago for £160,000. It’s in south-east London. It’s now worth about £1.15m.”

“So I’ve gained a million pound windfall to which I do not feel entitled, and that windfall, at the moment, is tax-free. Were I to sell [the house], there’s no tax on that gain.”

“It may appear very lucky for me, but the reality is when I sell, it will probably be to a younger person who’ll be getting a mortgage and spending most of their working life paying off that windfall which went to me. I don’t think that’s fair.”

I'm confused. Here we have a bloke who judging by his directorships is not averse to making a few quid and why should he be but chucks in a bit of self flagellation for good measure.

There's a whiff of Toynbee here. There's no recognition on his part that he could set the house price and forego his £1m or donate it to some young people to buy their house but somehow I think things might be different when profit & publicity come up against each other.

PeterCharles said...

This is just another slant on the perennial call for council and social housing families to be pressured into moving into a smaller place once the kids are gone.

The social service geeks have added up the sums, 60 million bodies, 65 million bedrooms equals no housing crisis after all. Not that there is that much of a housing crisis anyway. Yes, there are people that have to live with other family members, yes there are people that want to move and can't, but there are not droves of people sleeping in cars or on the streets. That would really indicate a crisis. Those that are without a roof, for the most part, are doing so so as a consequence of other factors, not necessarily their fault and not in the main because of a housing shortage.

Instead of trying to nanny everyone into making the existing housing stock go farther they should not have manipulated the housing market to keep appreciating in value. The simple market rule is that something is worth what someone else is prepared to pay. That hasn't been true for houses for at least 40 years, houses have been worth what the mortgage lenders were prepared to lend, that's why UK houses are still nigh on 100% overvalued and that is also a large part of our current economic troubles as far as personal debt is concerned.

Anonymous said...

My house, my rules, my business - fuck off.

Ian said...

"UK Co-ordinator of the European Social Survey" says it all. The proposed policy is obviously one of the EU's "one size fits all" programmes. Unlike Britain, most people in continental countries rent rather than own. So the policy might make more sense abroad. But noooooo, we too must be treated as Standard European Citizens!

Sue said...

Cheeky bastards should start chucking out some scrounging immigrants before they bully old people AGAIN!

This government makes me sick.

The Apiarist said...

“So I’ve gained a million pound windfall to which I do not feel entitled, and that windfall, at the moment, is tax-free. Were I to sell [the house], there’s no tax on that gain.”

Yes, chum, and you would then be homeless! Hardly a liquid asset, is it?

I can similarly be accused of making a 'profit' because the house I live inis worth more than when I bought it. However, I didn't buy it to make money, I bought it to live in. Any increase in value was not because of any intent on my part, it's the result of an overheated property boom engineered by building societies and banks, urged on by various governments. I don't see why I should be made to pay any additional taxes (as suggested recently) because of the actions of others.

English Pensioner said...

We wanted to move when I retired; we looked for a smaller house of similar "quality" in a similar type of location. But by the time I added up all the likely costs (stamp duty, solicitors, estate agents, removal men, possible carpets, curtains, etc) we would have been well out of pocket and only able to afford a lesser home. So why move? We have a room for visitors, a tiny room for our toddler grandson, and I have a study.
Now if one of these organisations was willing to pay our removal costs, I might consider moving as the garden is becoming too much for me.

PeterCharles said...

Not much chance of that, EP. As andy5759 has expressed their doubts, this is not a charity in the 'let's provide' or 'let's help' mould we of a certain age expect. This is a modern charity of the 'let's start a pressure group and lobby government' variety, if it is not actually a secret Quango or government off-shoot from the Blair 'let's hide what we're doing and pretend there is an independent demand for this idea of ours' model for such bodies. I sussed that out when I half listened to the item on radio 4 when their spokesperson was prattling on about all the elderly people who have been in contact with them. It is only structured as a charity to take advantage of the benefits and avoid scrutiny and accountability.

If it was a real charity helping people to painlessly downsize, relocate and re-order their lives in retirement would be exactly what they would do.

cosmic said...

I heard this twaddle years ago from a socialist who lived in a five bedroomed house with his wife and two kids. How selfish it was that old people were living in large houses on their own when there were families in cramped accommodation. I agreed and said it would be a great idea if they were forced to move somewhere smaller and a needy family of ten put in their place. He said he couldn't see the logic.

I'm not surprised that the arch humbug Tessa Jowell is associated with it.

The Stephen Glover article in the Daily Mail pointed out that much of the problem has been caused by mass immigration which the left gleefully encouraged.

There's something about socialist solutions which reminds me of the song about the old woman who swallowed a fly.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

jic: Good idea, that!

a5759: Good man! Don't forget to keep me updated, please?

Anon: Is she? link please? I didn't see her name on the site - did I blink and miss it?

TT: o)!

RB: Nice spot - have to admit I forgot to look at their trustees...!

PC: We agree so much........

Anon(2): Too right!

Ian: Agreed, naturally!

Sue: Exactly!

TA: Nicely put, although some might throw the accusation of nimbyism at you - hence my 'afterthought'.

c: Of course the housing problem, or a greater percentage of the problem, has been caused by mass immigration from the EU - but the politicians will never admit that!

Mark Wadsworth said...

Ah, the cozy certainties of Home-Owner-Ism, a warm blanket of contradications which help us assuage our conscience at completely ruining the lives of future generations while patting ourselves on the back at how much money our houses have made for us...

WitteringsfromWitney said...

MW: Now now, I said not nimbyism commenting.......... naughty step please.