The housing subsidy row is being hi-jacked by the Labour party to channel criticism and dislike onto the Coalition government. Clearly rents are now so high in many parts of the country that some families are unable to pay for their housing without benefit of taxpayers' assistance. Bluntly, this is the way of the world. Wages are kept as low as possible in the face of an open economy, and governments, particularly big state social democrat and socialist governments, seek to increase their revenues; thus family income, particularly in the aftermath of the socialist high tax regime of the last 13 years, is squeezed endemically.
This is not, however a problem for central or local government unless some administration has made it so (hence Westminster seeking the lifting of the last administration's impositions upon them to meet housing need that is not really the problem of all of us, that is the all of us Westminster council is supposed to answer to and serve). It is a problem for tenants to resolve with landlords.
Tenants alone are relatively weak in the face of their own landlord. In normal societies they band together into associations and co-operatives of various kinds and face the landlords, themselves organised as a group in response, in an at best constructive and at worst disruptive fashion, to fix rental levels in some semblance of what tenants can bear and landlords must accept. The role of government comes from ensuring there is no illegality in the two sides' dealings with one another - no bullying and no illegal seizures of property.
The socialist Dementors' kiss has sucked the life out of those in our society who are weaker economically, educationally and culturally. They seem unable to think of what might be done other than turn on the government, with their wholly reasonable (in the main) claims that rents cannot be afforded among the low-wage and unemployed sectors; unable to grasp that their distress has been seized upon by political left-wing opportunists to decry not exploitative landlords who siphon off the help taxpayers can afford to offer, but to attack a government that has turned them out of office for incompetence to the point of malevolence. These 'voices' are not the friends of tenants - they too are exploiters.
The Coalition, as it clears up Labor's 13-year economic disaster, has offered generous transition payments and longterm subsidies for the rent payments of those who cannot meet what the landlords have managed to ratchet-up during the long years of Labour-encouraged housing exploitation. What are the tenats going to do to get themselves organised and ensure that social payments to help them now are not confiscated by the landlords who are exploiting them. Rioting in the streets, the standard 'left' response to a perceived but often not government-induced injustice, is a very inadequate and destructive response.
Tenants could learn much from looking at the way tenants organisations are put together and operate successfully in other advanced capitalist European countries to obtain fair rents and tenancy conditions for their membership.
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