UKIP’s latest TV Broadcast wrongly blames immigrants… again
Whilst making an important point about the current housing crisis and particularly the lack of affordable housing in London, UKIP wrongly pinned the majority of the blame on immigration. Again, they reminded us that we have an ‘open door to 500m people’ despite only a tiny fraction of those people actually coming to live here. In reality, the root of the problem goes further back. Left Foot Forward noted in an article last year that ‘the single biggest cause’ of London’s housing crisis ‘was the decision made by the Thatcher government in 1980 to prevent councils from reinvesting Right to Buy receipts in new homes.’
In 2014, just 17,000 new homes were built in the entire capital. Compare that with 1978 — when the population was falling — where each individual council within London was building that many. The private sector and housing associations have failed to fill the void and now we have a social housing waiting list of 800,000 people in London. It’s difficult to put a finger on exactly why UKIP sought to target immigrants when the actual causes of the crisis are simple. Plus, a report published by the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE noted ‘there is still no evidence of an overall negative impact of immigration’ on social housing.
Let us also acknowledge that the ever rising housing benefit bill is only going up because of the failure to control rents and build more affordable housing. Rip-off private landlords continually raise rents— despite their being no new burden on them to necessitate such a rise — making them the eventual recipients of much housing benefit. Building new social housing would also create more jobs and subsequently stimulate the economy.