BBC4 showed a good documentary about the history of council housing the other day. It can be seen here and is on for another 8 days on the iplayer. The show features Thamesmead. There’s an aerial clip taken flying over the town whilst construction was ongoing. I wouldn’t mind tracking down the whole thing. I can imagine that some may find one of the presenters conclusions as to why council housing declined controversial.

Despite council housing construction being almost dead, the amount spent on subsidised housing isn’t. £20 billion is now spent each year on housing benefit, and is subsidising buy-to-let landlords and banks who capitalised on the bubble, and the shortage of supply caused by halting council house building. If more of the billions spent annually, that goes to private landlords, had been used to build housing over the past two decades the current housing shortage and excessive prices would be much less of a problem, and the amount spent by taxpayers would be less. Win win, and the country would have greater assets to boot in terms of more housing.

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