Do you remember the scene in "Doctor Zhivago," when after the Bolshevik revolution, Zhivago returns to his in-laws' apartment, and finds it occupied by a gaggle of proletarians and lumpenproletarians lodging there on orders of the regime?
That's what the UK Guardian's George Monbiot thinks will solve Britain's housing crisis:
Between 2003 and 2008 (the latest available figures), there was a 45% increase in the number of under-occupied homes in England. The definition of under-occupied varies, but it usually means that households have at least two bedrooms more than they require. This category now accounts for over half the homes in which single people live, and almost a quarter of those used by larger households. Nearly 8m homes – 37% of the total housing stock – are officially under-occupied.**********
My guess, though I can find no research or figures either to support or disprove it, is that the richest third of the population has discovered that it can spread its wings. A report by the International Longevity Centre comes to the same conclusion: "Wealth … is the key factor in whether or not we choose to occupy more housing space than is essential."
While most houses are privately owned, the total housing stock is a common resource. Either we ensure that it is used wisely and fairly, or we allow its distribution to become the starkest expression of inequality. The UK appears to have chosen the second option. We have allowed the market, and the market alone, to decide who gets what – which means that families in desperate need of bigger homes are crammed together in squalid conditions, while those who have more space than they know what to do with face neither economic nor social pressure to downsize.
The only answer anyone is prepared to mention is more building: let the rich occupy as much space they wish, and solve the problem by dumping it on the environment, which means – of course – on everyone. I think there's a better way.
If you live by yourself, regardless of the size of your property, you get a 25% council tax discount. The rest of us, in other words, subsidise wealthy single people who want to keep their spare rooms empty. Those who use more than their fair share should pay for the privilege, with a big tax penalty for under-occupation. If it prompts them either to take in a lodger or to move into a smaller home in a lower tax band, so much the better.I would also like to see an expansion of the Homeshare scheme, which could address several growing problems at once. Instead of paying rent, lodgers – who are vetted and checked by the charity that runs the project – help elderly homeowners with shopping, cleaning, cooking, gardening or driving.
The emotional force that drives the left is the desire to take, to confiscate, to appropriate, to expropriate, and to control.
The do-gooder schemes are not the real point, the real point is to deprive anyone who has anything of everything he has. They want to turn the entire world into a giant slum, which their thugs will enable them to rule.