"Demand is not need. The famous quarter of a million is crude “family formation”. The implication is Leninist, that the state’s duty is a home for every citizen, irrespective of choice, price or district. I could answer that Britain has 700,000 empty houses, and London last year converted thousands of offices into flats. Is that the end of the shortage? Only a bureaucrat in a bubble could talk such nonsense, yet the BBC trots it out as a “crisis” day after day.He makes the moot point that a changing, dynamic economy such as Britain's needs a high degree of labour mobility - which means that a large rented sector is better for the nation than a workforce of inflexible, static owner-occupiers. By accident rather than design, this what we've got.
By imposing one size fits all building targets on all communities across Britain, Javid is seeking total mastery of the private housing sector. He is completing a last link in Labour’s 1940s nationalisation agenda, bringing to housing the same welfare centralisation, bureaucracy and insensitivity now afflicting the NHS."
He also identifies that housing isn't a British problem but a London problem, and the answer is to increase density in London. I've been saying this for years. The photo below is of a 1920s council house estate within Zone 3. I'll bet that most are now RTBs and rented out - and that such owners wouldn't turn down the offer of a free additional rental room for every one they own by co-operating in replacing these tiny, cold houses with four storey apartment blocks lining the road frontages.
If councils can't stomach that, I've also long advocated building on sites such as Blackheath. There's nothing natural or heath-like about this vast space; it has no more ecological merit than a municipal gang-mowed playing field. The tiny corner of original gorse-clad, undulating heathland left intact on Blackheath is used by local dog-walkers, who come to watch the outdoors homosexuals playing in the bushes.
Jenkins is also right that money needs to be switched to managed hostels for those simply incapable of sustaining themselves in their own rented flats. Anyone who has watched an episode or two of those TV docs that follow high court bailiffs and sheriffs will know that evictions for non-payment are generally of two sorts; those just taking the piss, who move on from private landlord to private landlord as serial rippers-off, and those who genuinely just have such chaotic lives that they can't be trusted to live independently. The latter are deserving of care, and need to live in managed units being fed if necessary, and given some pocket money for clothes and cosmetics.
Yes, I know that 300k net migrants a year are a huge pressure on housing, but as Jenkins says, such pressure is demand and not need. They will have to live in garden sheds, garages and 6 to a room in their relatives' homes if they cannot afford commercial rents. Eventually things will find an equilibrium.