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!