Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

London is housing a problem

The housing benefit controversy illustrates just what a mess London is in.

Housing benefit is at extra-ordinary levels in London because of the extortionate rents in London – because London has become bloated and over-large.  So large in fact that “one’s cleaner” cannot live locally and has to live so far away that it is not worth her (or his) while commuting in to their job.  “One’s house will be left uncleaned – we will all die of disease”.  Yes, and all the nurses will be living in remote outer London as well!

So if the coalition really wants to “sort things out” and “simplify things”, perhaps it should address the whole impact of London rather than try to rig their housing benefit proposals (with things like special amelioration funds being given to the councils – or who knows a full screeching u-turn) .

For many new programmes we have:

  • environmental impact assessments
  • legislative impact assessments
  • diversity impact assessments

Why not also have “London-bloat impact assessments”?  Stop all programmes such as Cross-Rail and replace them with programmes such as High Speed Rail from Hull to Liverpool.  Start to build a new centre of gravity which will become increasingly attractive as London become even less so.

It will take a while (!) but surely has to be a project worth taking on.  (It will reduce the relevance of Boris as well)

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