The majority of countries face the challenge of providing adequate homes for all of their families. The home is one of the critical parameters for learning. The home can provide the key elements of security, space and support for the learner.
In the UK the problem is being exacerbated by the fragmentation of families and the shortage of affordable homes – both factors driving up demand and prices. In the background, the ‘free market’ continues to act as a dead hand. Many affordable homes are purchased as second homes or as ‘buy to let’. Cheaper homes don’t get built so often, as the profit margins for developers make them less attractive.
In the good old days we had something called ‘development land tax’ which meant that Local Authorities could always recoup funds from developers. This added to their own council house building programmes. Mrs Thatcher allowed for the majority of council homes to be sold off. They were not replaced. A classic piece of short termism for political gain.
Now, more than ever, councils need to be able to build cheaper homes themselves, which they can then let, providing much needed income. However, for some reason, Local Authorities are not deemed fit by central government to do anything and are suffering massive cuts to their budgets. This is unfortunate, as they would have a huge contribution to make in safeguarding education, facilitating housing, supporting the environment and health. All of the things that can make a country successful and in the long run, save money.