Friday, 19 April 2024

The Lies Of Homeless And Social Housing

THE MANY PROBLEMS associated with Britain’s housing crisis (including bad housing and homelessness) were recently discussed on the National Liberals Facebook page – check out Facebook/National Liberals. Here NLP members and supporters put forward different ideas aimed at solving this problem. One of those involved in the debate was 19-year-old college student Robert Byng from Barrhead in Scotland.

Given his passionate interest in the subject, Robert was asked to write an article that detailed his radical ideas for solving the housing crisis. His article is featured below.

Robert also edits The Young Political Radical, a highly distinctive blog which pulls no punches. Check it out here:

AH FRIENDS – here we are again – once again breaking down the many lies that are force fed to us like brussel sprouts at Christmas. This time we will look at the greatest atrocity to hit a nation where millionaires are allowed to gain power in to government and tell us that we are all in it together while at the same time stabbing a blade of authority into little children and the old; that atrocity is the inadequate social policy on housing.

The combined calculations of the Westminster and Scottish Parliaments, and the Welsh Assembly, puts calculations of empty homes in Scotland, England and Wales to approximately 800,000 with an estimated 250,000 homeless people living in temporary accommodation, 500,000 living on the streets and 250,000 living in squat or in tents. Approximately 1 million homeless and 800,000 spare houses to occupy and turn them into homes.

Some may consider it immoral to take the unoccupied homes from their owners however I see it as a massive opportunity for those who own such homes to become the generation’s next land lords.

Take the empty houses, place a homeless person or persons in it; the homeless are sheltered, warm and safe which will reduce costs on the nation for medical expenses for the sickness that is sadly spread through those who are exposed to the rain, cold and winds that our fair isles are known for, they are able to claim benefits and have a stable address to look for a job and increase their confidence, and the reduction of exposure to violence and drugs which could make a world of difference, especially to those under the age of 25 who probably never stood a chance in life due to whatever reason.

The owners of the empty homes are getting extra money in their pockets to spend on silly hats and posh wines, adding to the economy, and we become a much more equal society where no one is left to starve or freeze.

On the short term it may be expensive however this is countered by the long term opportunities to reduce the drug affliction rate, and the morality of offering our more fragile citizens a chance to turn their lives around, get a job, contribute, pay taxes and raise a clean and productive family.

Radical morality goes a long way in our nation’s history – from homes for heroes in the 20th century to homes for everyone in the 21st.

What of those, however, who are housed in local authority housing? Well, that is a much more difficult area to examine.

I’m Scottish and our laws are much different, especially in housing. In Scotland, no local authority under the Scottish Parliament may make any one homeless – even if someone is evicted, they must be placed into new housing. Yes, sensible, kick them out and toss them in to a new home – I’m sure David Cameron’s bedroom tax will make this a buffet of carnival ride styled evictions. In, out, in out, in out.

In my local authority of East Renfrewshire, and mainly in my home town of Barrhead, we have had massive amounts of investment – a new medical centre, new community centre, the mainstream dolled up, and lovely new … private sector and housing association homes. That’s the biggest problem, all investment seems to be done by private sector and housing association land lords rather than the local authority itself. Don’t misunderstand, East Renfrewshire is an excellent local authority to live in, but the management is clueless.

The biggest grudge I have with local authorities is that they evict people from homes that the common man has paid for; quite literally friends: you paid for the construction of local authority housing, the street cleaners and the wigs on the aging counsellors. Your taxes made it possible to build them, you own them. Yet local authorities seem to misunderstand this fact, they seem to believe that they are never accountable to their residents.

Well, friends, I say this: No to unelected Chief executives; no to evictions for innocents; no to evictions due to taxation; and no to poor excuses from both central and local government.

Local authorities must begin to put real effort in to their housing stock. Not this ‘regeneration’ which sees only areas in the shopping areas, not regeneration that only concentrated on the external appeal to the eye of the social housing stock, but the regeneration of the internal quality of homes – local authorities must either being to revamp their stock, introduce modern facilities such as sufficient electricity sources, lighting, damp-proof lining, showers, affordable methods of heating, and common green space, or merely knock them down because if the former isn’t performed the houses will be crumbling in to pieces any ways.

In my closest city of Glasgow where I grew up as a young lad before moving to Barrhead there were Victorian style slums where homes were damp, windows did not protect against the rain or cold, and plumbing was like something from the Chuckle Brothers.

Was it the fault of the people who lived there? Not even close friends, the majority of people who lived there are hard at work each day trying to make it through the year. They inherited poor housing because if you apply for social housing, you seldom have a choice in the condition of your home.

It’s a lie that we live in a fair democracy where the quality of housing is higher in the private sector which has a small budget in comparison to our local authorities who exist with our money yet prefer to pay our high wages and toss hundred pound notes into the tea pots of official meetings.

Friends, we need change.

We need long term fixation. We need solutions that will last a life time and not solutions that will last until the next budget.

When a local authority tells you that they are doing everything they can to provide housing you must not take it at face value, you must, friends, research in to it; look at houses. Are they clean? Are the streets full of pot holes? Do the windows look 40 years old? Do the residents spend more than normal on heating?

Invest, not supress. Create not destroy. Economics has never shown austerity to be an effective method of resolving financial crisis in the West. We must circulate our finance into longevity.

We must change our thinking and plan for the future as a nation: our housing, roads, trains, airports, cities, towns and villages are all lacking in comparison to the rest of Europe.

Only by a standing with the National Liberty Party and ideals of self-determination and a fight for, not against, democracy, equality and freedom will we do this.

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