In some quarters the proposed solution to Britain’s housing problems is lots and lots more social – ie below market rate – housing.
For the more extreme, this should mean local councils building, owning and renting out the dwellings. As one young couple have recently found out, this is no solution at all.
Thomas Gallagher and his partner Tanya, whose story appeared in The Sun over the weekend, have found themselves between a rock and a hard place. The couple hail from Birmingham, but moved to Cheltenham for a few years for work.
On returning to their home city to care for Thomas’ mother, they were told they were not eligible for council housing. In the meantime, they risk losing their right to a council flat in Cheltenham
The problem the couple faced was an apparent lack of a “local connection”, despite both having grown up in Birmingham – and having newborn twins to look after.
Their case encapsulates several of the problems with council housing in general. To paraphrase the League of Gentleman, local councils are, by their very nature, going to provide local housing for local people. Indeed, that’s their legal mission too.
And, given the point of council housing is to provide it below market value, there’s always going to be a queue. Local authorities are always going to put locals – ie those who can vote for them – at the front of that queue. Given the way it is funded, social housing is not all that different either.