“Most of the ills relating to our housing start with the morally reprehensible idea that it’s OK in a time of shortage to treat dwellings as mere investments. Yet when the Labour Party in Britain reasonably suggests holiday homes should pay double council tax, affluent owners whimper. Any suggestion of stiffer capital gains gets pearls clutched. And no party has the guts to do as the Danes and forbid non-resident foreigners from owning property in cities. So Manchester and London are pimped out as cosy nest-eggs for Russian and Asian money. Houses aren’t bank vaults, flats aren’t wallets. Landlords have had the law on their side for 30 years and home-owners, too, have had ritzy a ride. It must stop.”(Libby Purves in The Times)
In London as a whole, 170,000 people – equivalent to one in 52 – have no home. Westminster had the most rough sleepers, 217, followed by Camden, with 127. In Kensington and Chelsea, the UK’s richest borough, there were over 5,000 homeless people – equivalent to one in every 29 residents
Why is this? Because London attracts dubious people with ill-gotten cash from all over the world, and , outside the E.U. this situation will now worsen. Where my (rather poorly off) grandmother used to live in London six Russian oligarchs now own houses almost in sight of her old apartment. Property owning is out of reach there for most people. And yes, property owners there should pay more.
We should be advocating for a pleasant life for all human beings, not just for the lucky (or corrupt) ones. This is not a political position; it’s about decency and humanity.