Why the two Big Ideas Being Considered for the Tory Manifesto will Add £84 billion pounds to the Deficit

Fraser Nelson Telegraph

Two [big game changing] ideas are being discussed by the Tory leadership. One is Iain Duncan Smith’s proposal to give 2.5 million housing association tenants the right to buy their home at vast discounts, as long as they have been working for a year. When the property is sold, the government would keep a share of the profits, using the money to accommodate others who need social housing. It would be a radical transfer of resources from government to the public. The idea would be to demonstrate the essential Conservative message: that they are in politics to shift power from the state to society.

Another idea being mooted is distributing the Government’s £35 billion shareholding in RBS among taxpayers.

The aim behind both of these ideas is to win over the “strivers”: the lower-middle class and skilled working-class voters who were the backbone of Margaret Thatcher’s support, and then Tony Blair’s. …

The Prime Minister likes the principle but worries about the detail – if a housing giveaway plan backfired, what would this say about his Government’s competence?

He right to be worried as both would cost billions undermining the narrow focus on the deficit which is the main plank of their campaign.

On the first it differs from council house right to buy.  These were state public sector assets.  Sales came off government debt, and future income from rents were lost as well.

Housing associations are mostly Industrial and Provident Societies, a few are friendly societies, their debt is not counted as public debt.  Though there actions are considered those of public bodies their assets are considered privately owned in law,  Under article 1 of the ECHR they would have to be compensated for the loss of assets.  So the sales would add to not come off public debt, the opposite of right to buy.  It would be seen as the biggest seizure of assets by the state since Hentry VIII seized the Monestraries, and would not go down well with the third sector seeing many charities loose their assets.

The Gross Book Value of HA assets comes to around £300bn -according to Cameron’s own dumb tank the Policy Exchange.

Assuming that HA RTB was as successful as CH RTB (half of stock lost over 20 years) then over 5 years it would cost £50Bn about 4% of the deficit (2013-14).

Now consider the RBS sale – 34 billion of sales are planned next year.  A give away would add 2.9% to the deficit (2013-14 baseline).

So both together would add 6.9% to the deficit.   About £84 billion pounds.

The two coalition parties were committed to eliminating the current structural deficit by 2017-18, a target that would require cuts of £30bn,

The only way to fund these giveaways would be to make a one off cut to public spending of 84 billion in one year (as it would be a one year only hot to the deficit),  or cute over many years with the same NPV as the loss plus interest.

If the government spent nothing on Police, Housing, Local Government and Transport for one year that would just about cover it.

Very feasible policies then.



Starter Homes and Vacant Buildings Credit Shoot Each Other in Dual

Imagine you had someone like Alex (half baked) Morton in your Local Plans team, former Policy Exchanger now Number 10 Housing and Planning Adviser.  The kind of freewheeling but poorly analytical planning assistant that was forever coming up with policy ideas for the local plan that cancelled each other out.

‘Why dont we require more affordable housing in Mixed use schemes in the Deangate area ‘

‘But Alex you just suggested we dedesignate this area from mixed use zoning’

‘How does that make a difference?’


Tthere then follows half an hour attempted futile explanation from the head of local plans.

Almost every local plan team has an Alex.  Sadly quite a few are heads of local plans.

Imagine though you had one in effect running new planning policy initiatives which then get put into Prim Ministerial Speeches unedited.

A disaster, as it has turned out.

A funny if it wasn’t so serious example is he greatest disaster so far in a long long list of policy disasters.

1) Vacant buildings credit, you get a discount for vacant and  redeveloped floorspace off affordable housing.  So if you replace X floorspace of industry with X floorspace of residential you dont need any affordable housing.

2) Starter Homes, for vacant and underused industrial sites you dont need affordable housing.

What Alex didn’t realise is that  2) will never apply and so never be an ‘exception’ to anything as affordable housing will already be exempted under 1, unless there is a net increase in floorspace.  So starter homes are an exemption to an exemption to buildings that in most cases are already exempt – especially in denser areas like Southwalk for example where industrial buildings have high plot coverage and are multistorey.

So the whole cunning plan of matching the Oppositions 200,000 target through 200,000 starter homes dies a death before it is even launched.

And this is how prime ministerial policy is set?

The sadness is that vacant buildings credit was never needed.  Who was lobbying for it?  Was it a wheezes designed to boost brownfield development, but there is already a viability test that is applied every day of the week.  Similarly pretty much every planner knows that exceptions test to a protected land use only applies to uses that can be protected – when the existing use is viable, not as the starter homes policy states where it is unviable.  You really couldn’t make policy up that is so well designed to be ineffective and counterproductive.










Harlow Gets Preemptive Injunction to Stop Any Possible Traveller Site

LGC Of course the problem is the acute shortages of pitches in East Essex. The proposed change to policy will make matters worse as other East Essex authorities will need to take overspill from unauthorized encampments in Basildon.

An ‘unprecedented’ ban on unauthorised traveller encampments across an Essex town has been granted by the High Court.

Harlow Council and Essex County Council last week applied for the measure after months of collaboration.

The High Court interim injunction will stop any unauthorised traveller encampments being set up on 454 parcels of land across Harlow. It is thought no ban on this scale has ever been granted, with parks, playgrounds, highway verges, schools and private land all identified for protection.

Travellers on an unauthorised local encampment are being served with the order today, with papers being displayed across the region.

Councillors said that the move was ‘not about attacking travellers’ and emphasised Harlow was ‘a tolerant place’.

Some 109 different unauthorised encampments are thought to have been set up in Harlow since October 2013, with a high number of complaints from businesses and residents being lodged with the town hall.

The interim injunction will now remain in place until a further hearing.

Cllr Jon Clempner, leader of Harlow Council, said: ‘The town has had enough and we needed to resolve this situation with a long-term solution to protect land now and in the future.

‘This injunction is about protecting the town’s vulnerable open spaces, upholding the law and responding and listening to the concerns of residents and businesses. It is not – and never has been – about persecuting any particular group of people or their way of life.’

‘Places like green open spaces, which are part of the town’s unique character, are much-loved and residents are both fed up and angry with persistent unauthorised traveller encampments and the impact these cause. This situation has really tested the patience of the whole community and we need to end this cat-and-mouse game which is being played.’

A Local Pub for Local People – Community Pubs Get an ACV Certificate


Community Pubs Minister Kris Hopkins has launched a national day of celebration for all pubs listed as assets of community value. Community Pubs Day will be held on 23 March to raise a glass to the hundreds of ACV­listed pubs and urge other communities across the country to consider listing their local to give it additional protection.

The Department for Communities and Local Government is producing a ‘community asset certificate’, which will be made available to every listed pub to hang behind the bar, giving publicans the chance to celebrate the fact their pub is prized so highly by customers.

Hopkins has written to the licensees of all the listed pubs asking them to consider taking part. Hopkins said: “A lot of hard work has been put in by communities up and down the land to protect their beloved pubs from sell­off and I believe many more could be afforded this protection, which is why we are calling on people to consider whether they might want to list their local.

Heres One you Can Print Out

This Grotty Run Down Pub Which has Seen No Investment for 20 Years and is Much Loved But Never Used By Locals is Hereby Declared An Asset of Community Value
This Means that if the Owners Greedy Head of Property wants to Sell the Site for a Fortune for Housing We Will Have Six Months to Raise the Money to Buy it, and as it is Probably Losing Money Hand over Fist it won’t cost a lot, if the local planning authority has the guts to refuse your application.  Sadly at the end of the day the locals probably won’t be arsed and won’t be able to raise the ½ million to renovate it (as there average age is 73 they wont get a bank loan) and make it a going concern, sad really. 
Kris Hopkins – Minister for Community Pubs

In other News CAMRA reveal that two pubs a week are being converted to Supermarkets under PD to get round the ACV regime.

The Housing Tardis – Both Main Parties Blame Each Other For Identical Records of Failure

Look at the following Quote

‘When we came into Office Housebuilding had fallen to its lowest level since the 1920s’

What he admots to mention is that under his government housebuilding fell to an even worse level

Dont take my word for it take that of the Tory Favorite Think Tank Policy Exchange who warned in 2012

” getting rid of regional spatial strategies (RSSs) had contributed to a situation whereby ‘the coalition could end up presiding over the lowest level of house building since the 1920s’.”

And this is exactly what happened.

The 109,370 homes built last year under the ConDems was the lowest since the 1920s.

Daily Mirror 13 April 2014

So we have the ridiculous position where both of the main parties correctly blames the other for achieving the lowest level of housebuilding since teh 1920s.

Its as if each inhabits a Tardis and wants to take the voter back to the point in time where the statistics look best for them, neglecting that whatever start and end point you use since 2007 you get identical records of failure.



Adur Shows Off its Outstanding Affordable Housing Performance

Live Table 1011: Additional Affordable Housing Supply 2013-14; detailed breakdown by Local Authority
ONS Code: E07000223
Type of unit: Data Source Adur <– Select Local Authority Name
Social Rent, of which:
New Build
HCA/GLA with grant HCA/GLA IMS 0
LA New Build (see note) HCA/GLA IMS/LAHS 0
 of which grant funded by HCA/GLA HCA/GLA IMS 0
S106 nil grant (see note) HCA/GLA IMS/PCS 0
S106 nil grant total 0
Other (see note) LAHS 0
with HCA/GLA grant HCA/GLA IMS 0
without HCA/GLA grant LAHS 0
AHGP HCA/GLA IMS/delivery partner 0
Permanent Affordable Traveller Pitches TCC 0
Total Social Rent 0
Affordable Rent, of which:
New Build
HCA/GLA with grant HCA/GLA IMS 0
S106 nil grant (see note) HCA/GLA IMS 0
Local authorities HCA/GLA IMS/LAHS 0
Permanent Affordable Traveller Pitches HCA/GLA IMS 0
with HCA/GLA grant HCA/GLA IMS 0
without HCA/GLA grant LAHS 0
Permanent Affordable Traveller Pitches HCA/GLA IMS 0
Empty Homes Community Fund Tribal 0
AHGP HCA/GLA IMS/delivery partner 0
Total Affordable Rent 0
Affordable Home Ownership, of which:
New Build
HCA/GLA with grant HCA/GLA IMS 1
S106 nil grant (see note) HCA/GLA IMS/PCS 0
S106 nil grant total 0
Other (see note) LAHS 0
with HCA/GLA grant HCA/GLA IMS 0
without HCA/GLA grant LAHS 0
AHGP HCA/GLA IMS/delivery partner 0
Assisted Purchase
Total AHO 1
Intermediate Rent
New Build
with HCA/GLA grant HCA/GLA IMS 0
without HCA/GLA grant LAHS 0
with HCA/GLA grant HCA/GLA IMS 0
without HCA/GLA grant LAHS 0
Total AHO and Intermediate Rent 1
Grand Total 1


Boy George Refused Permission to Increase Light to His Gloomy Gothic Pad

Planning Applications of the Rich and Famous


Boy George is locked in a battle with Camden council after plans to brighten up his multi-million-pound Victorian mansion overlooking Hampstead Heath were thrown out.

The Culture Club singer hoped to increase the amount of natural light in his Grade-II listed home by building a glazed extension and chopping down three trees in the landscaped gardens.

But Camden council rejected the proposals last September. He is now appealing against the decision. The 53-year-old Eighties pop star, whose real name is George O’Dowd, has lived alone in the house since his pop heyday 30 years ago.

Documents filed in 2013 by Soho-based Syte Architects explain: “The house does not benefit from a great deal of natural light into its interior. Its frontage is orientated to the north-east. The rear has a southwesterly orientation but a combination of factors mean that the interior often suffers from poor levels and quality of natural lighting.

A property you can only enter at Midnight After your Car Breaks Down in the Middle of a Thunderstorm


Renovation: Boy George wants to build a glazed extension, but planners argue it will be detrimental to the property’s character (Picture: Glenn Copus)“The proposed extension has been designed to create living spaces with a greater sense of connection to the garden and better levels of natural light. These spaces will have a different atmosphere and character to the internal spaces in the existing house.”

But in a letter stating its reasons for refusal, the council argued the proposed extension would “appear as an over-dominant and incongruous addition” and would be “detrimental to the character, appearance and special architectural and historic interests of the hosted listed building”.

A letter sent to the town hall from the Hampstead Conservation Area Advisory Committee stated that the scheme was an over-development and would affect neighbours.

They wrote: “We object to the extension and the hard landscaping because of the garden take-up and potential light pollution.”