Articles by Red Brick
Red Brick is a blog edited by Tony Clements and Steve Hilditch as a housing policy forum open to anyone interested in progressive debate about homes, housing and communities.
Between the Devil and the deep blue sea
“…council tenants are constantly stigmatised and demonised for being ‘subsidised’. The evidence tells us that, increasingly, it is they who are doing the subsidising.” Steve Hilditch looks at how some councils are using their housing revenue account to offset the cuts being made to local authorities.
“I am increasingly convinced that Ed Miliband will be the next Prime Minister. But he is not Red Ed. He is Steady Teddy.” Steve Hilditch is pleased with the housing policy announcements at last week’s Labour Conference.
Despite all the propaganda, Britain remains liberal and collectivist
“One lesson for Labour might be that it needs to be more bold and speak above the heads of the media and more directly to people, to enable it to connect with the more liberal and collectivist attitudes that, despite all the propaganda, still dominate amongst the public.” Steve Hilditch argues that Britain remains a liberal and collectivist society.
Is Eric the blot on the landscape?
“So Eric, how about statements promising to tackle the state of some of disrepair and terrible conditions in the worst of our private rented sector, or doing more to end the tragedy of homelessness?” Sheila Spencer challenges Eric Pickles to move on from the great bin crisis and address the real problems in housing today.
Memo to Grant Shapps: we need house price stability. Signed: Grant Shapps
It was a rare moment. Grant Shapps said something with which Red Brick agreed. It was back in January 2011 and Shapps was all over the newspapers and TV news with his views on the housing market, and in particular house prices. Shapps said that Ministers wanted to ‘engineer’ a period of house price stability, using […]
Stamp out regressive property taxes
Normally the Taxpayers’ Alliance website is only worth a visit to raise a smile and to see what people pretending to be on the taxpayers’ side are up to. I say pretend because of course everyone is a taxpayer: those who do not pay income tax pay more regressive taxes like VAT, but the TPA […]
What goes up may come down. Only 10 years ago, the growth of home ownership was believed to be inexorable: people would talk of it reaching 90% of households. But without much advance warning, it peaked in 2003 and has fallen from 71% of households then to 65% now (figures for England). Virtually all net housing growth […]
This post also appeared on Progress Online. Labour has gone big on helping private renters in recent months. And we’re right to. With ever more people forced to rent from private landlords, including 1 million families, we need to improve standards and give people greater security in their home. However, we should remember that ‘Generation Rent’ still aspires to […]
At the CIH Conference last week, Housing Minister Mark Prisk said that the new funding settlement for housing would involve ‘something for something’. To get a small slice of the increasingly tiny Government subsidy for new rented homes, providers will have to make a bigger contribution from ‘their’ own resources. Government has been in confusion […]
It is a common lament on Red Brick that the word ‘subsidised’ appears before the words ‘social housing’ on so many occasions with no explanation or justification or proper comparison with what really happens in the ‘market’ sectors. (See our previous post ‘Who gets subsidised housing?’). It is all part and parcel of a view […]
If you are lucky enough to become a tenant of a social landlord, what should determine the rent you pay? Should it be a national Government-set formula that takes account of local incomes and property values? Or the cost of providing the home? Or your landlord’s local policy? Or your income? Or what will enable […]
The welfare reform debate inside the Labour Party appears to have reached a crossroads …again. There are 3 basic positions vying for attention: those that think some cuts and reform are justified because of the deficit; those that think welfare reform is popular with the public therefore Labour should go along with it in order […]
After a week free of blogging due to manic activity getting ready for the hugely successful London Labour Housing Group Policy Conference on Saturday, that all-too-common feeling of outrage descended on me again this morning whilst watching a BBC News 24 report on the start of the total benefits cap in 4 London boroughs. I love the […]
After Frederick West was convicted of despicable murders, no-one wrote a headline saying he was the ‘Vile Product of Home Ownership’. After Harold Shipman was convicted of mass murders, no-one wrote a headline saying he was the ‘Vile Product of Full Time Employment’. It is disgusting therefore that the Daily Mail produced the headline ‘Vile Product of Welfare […]
What’s this about and what’s the point of all these initials? The main measure of Government debt used in the UK is the PSND (Public Sector Net Debt) which is similar to the more well known PSBR (Public Sector Borrowing Requirement) used in the past. Other countries use GGGD (General Government Gross Debt) and all international comparisons are done on this […]
“Since the days of Lady Porter phrases like that (tenancy for life) have come to mean selling off homes and estates, gentrification, and getting rid of the poor in favour of higher income groups who might, coincidentally, be more likely to vote Tory.” Steve Hilditch argues that phrases like ‘tenancy for life’ are used by politicians to distort the real picture in housing policy for political ends.
‘Squalor’ was one of Beveridge’s ‘five great evils’. For most people the word probably conjures up Victorian slum conditions that were gradually overcome, over many decades, by better housing standards, state intervention, and the building of millions of new homes. The belief that things gradually get better has been undermined over the last 35 years, at least […]
“The only effective way to help people on low incomes, the homeless and people on waiting lists is to build homes that [can] be let at genuinely affordable rents.” Steve Hilditch welcomes Ed Miliband’s challenge to the dogma of trickle down economics.
From an anonymous correspondent As welfare ‘reform’ and housing cuts bite ever harder, when do we reach the point where the government concedes that the hardship caused is an inevitable consequence of rebalancing the public finances and reducing the deficit? So far, they seem to be in deep denial. This contrasts with the Thatcher era, […]
“Just like challenging the dominance of the ‘scrounger’ narrative, this is another area where using the right language consistently will reap political benefits.” Steve Hilditch, writing on Red Brick, argues that we need a new language for ‘tax and spend’ to overcome the conventional view.