Around the Houses

I was in two minds about commenting on this story. However, on reading Anna Raccoon’s post on the subject, I am spurred.

When I first read about Grant Shapp’s idea for “helping” older people to downsize, my reaction was very similar to Ms Raccoon’s. On further reading, as the scheme is planned to be voluntary, I shrugged my shoulders. If no one is being forced, then the reaction over at Chez Raccoon is way over the top. We are not turning into North Korea. Well, not yet, anyways, although the jibe about communism is probably apt. The constant refrains we hear about older people hoarding bedrooms and exhortations for them to get out and make way for younger people is straight out of the little red book.

However, there is a point to be made here. Politicians do have this unpleasant habit of using nice cuddly words to disguise malign intent. On the face of it, elderly people living in large homes will be helped by the local authority to downsize. The LA will then let their property and pass on the rent (if there is any left). Sounds dandy.

Thing is… They could do this already. There is nothing stopping people going along to an agency –  if they don’t want to deal with the nitty gritty themselves –  and arranging to have their home let while they rent something more suited to their needs themselves. Nothing at all. It really is quite simple.

That there is not a rush of people doing it tends to suggest that they don’t want to do it. Why would the state acting as a middle man make it more likely to happen? Indeed, with the dead hand of the state involved, fuck up city looms large on the horizon and is a good enough reason to steer wide of the waiting rocks. Unless there is some “encouragement” tagged into the scheme, I don’t see a massive take-up. And how will the LA know who to encourage if they don’t start to poke about in peoples’ private affairs? Yes, the more you dig into it, the more you realise that the Raccoon piece does have a point. It isn’t compulsory, but there is the spectre of the state slavering over your property, ogling it with envious eyes, just waiting to get in there and do a little “encouraging”. And, no, I’m not paranoid.

The point is, none of this should be any business of the state. There is no need for the government to “do something”. Frankly, the less they do the better it will be for all concerned –  indeed, the state in one form or another is responsible for restrictive planning laws that prevent new builds and contribute to a housing drought in the first place, not to mention the hyperinflation of prices caused by their amateurish interfering –  sorry, fiscal policy. If Mr Shapps has the time to come up with such schemes, then he is clearly under employed and we need to have less of him and his ilk. This is an argument for either fewer MPs or to have them on a part time basis. That way they don’t have the time to dream up wacky schemes on stuff that is none of their business.

One can dream…

14 comments for “Around the Houses

  1. January 18, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    The state could do something. They could reduce the risk, regulations and tax complications for people wanting to temporarily rent out their primary home.

    • January 18, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      That would merely be undoing the damage they have already done, wouldn’t it?

  2. Paul
    January 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    That there isn’t a rush to downsize by these nasty home ownerists is very simple to explain. I know Mark doesn’t quite get this, hence his constant ad hom attacks on people who might want to purchase a home and not for it to be ever more a tax burden, and it is this. A person’s investment in their home isn’t just financial, it is emotional as well.

    • January 18, 2012 at 5:48 pm


    • Andrew Duffin
      January 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm

      Hear! Hear!

  3. witteringwitney
    January 18, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    ” If Mr Shapps has the time to come up with such schemes, then he is clearly under employed…..”

    Having met him at the DCLG I can assure you he most definitely is ‘over employed’!

    As I posted:

    It is but more government control/social engineering…..

    • January 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      My bad 😈

  4. nemesis
    January 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    While I 100% agree with you that no way should this have anything to do with the State, it does strike me that there are alot of aged single people living alone that struggle with little jobs about the house yet are not ready to give up their house for a nursing home, yet there are also alot of unemployed singletons both young and middleaged who are in need of accomodation. The answer of course is for the aged to stay in their homes with the extra help from someone in need of a room – provided of course they get along and can trust each other. It would solve several problems at once.

    • January 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      My mother in law sometimes takes in lodgers. It is a solution for some. Again, it all depends on the individuals as to what is most suitable for the circumstances.

  5. ivan
    January 18, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    If the state and councils are in such desperate need of accommodation then they should be looking at alternatives like the housing provided by They could stack them on all the brown field sites they have – damn it, they could make a whole town out of them after all we did something like that after the war.

    • January 19, 2012 at 9:37 am

      They could also relax the absurdly rigid planning laws as well.

  6. Andrew Duffin
    January 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I just have this ominous phrase bouncing around my memory from some other state scam that started innocently enough (can’t remember if it was drinking, or eating fat, or eating meat, or recycling something or other, but they’re all the same really).

    The phrase is “the current voluntary option has failed…” and then they go on to impose their plan by fiat – which was probably their intention all along.

    I also wonder if the dead hand of the EU is lurking around in the background somewhere; it usually is. Anyone know for sure?

    • January 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      I’m not aware of any EU involvement, but that doesn’t mean a thing. And, yes, there is this “voluntary has failed” malarky to worry about.

      • January 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm

        That’s what I’m concerned about, too. There could be mandatory council/GP assessments of the elderly to decide if they are still suited to living alone. Those assessed would have little input. The decision would be taken by the authorities.

        Anyone — anti-homeowner bloggers or politicians — who puts forward these ideas would do well to ask themselves, ‘Would I be happy if this happened to me or my family?’

        I haven’t stopped thinking about the horrors and discrimination this could produce since the idea was first mooted last year. As someone (Bobo) noted on Anna’s blog, there does seem to be a lot of anti-OAP sentiment in the air these days.

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