Tag Archives: social liberal forum conference

The housing crisis – long overdue for some “big ideas”

You can tell things must be getting really bad when even the Conservatives are concerned about the shortfall of affordable houses. Survation recently polled 121 senior Conservative councillors, on behalf of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation ahead of the government’s publication of its social housing green paper, expected in the next few months.  The poll found 71% were concerned that the £2bn Government set aside for affordable housing in the Autumn Budget will be insufficient to meet the needs of their constituents.

So what solutions do we need?  Alex Marsh, a housing policy expert, has set out some truly radical proposals n the Social Liberal Forum’s new book, Four Go In Search of Big Ideas.  After setting out the commonly accepted “truths” of our current housing crisis, he crucially asks, “Is it all about new supply?  He argues:

A more profound criticism of this approach to dealing with our housing problems is that it is based upon a misdiagnosis. The argument is that if we view the issue in terms of the amount of housing available relative to the number of residents then the country is not suffering from a significant shortage of accommodation. The issue is its distribution .  Some people are occupying a lot more housing than others, many households are squeezing into overcrowded accommodation and others are squeezed out of the market entirely. In this respect the problems of the housing market are in part a manifestation of broader social and economic changes, including changes in income and wealth inequality or welfare reform and increased use of benefit sanctions. We see problems in the housing market, but they are not necessarily problems of the housing market.

It is through these kinds of radical ways of looking at our current problems that we can generate new ideas and new solutions.  And Alex proposes some truly radical liberal ideas—ideas that should be of interest to any true Liberal.  He says: 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 25 Comments

Social Liberal Forum Conference – a belated report of an enriching day

Social Liberal Forum conference Jul 19 2014 closing panel Photo by Paul WalterThis time last week, I had just arrived at a very crowded Euston Station in London for the Social Liberal Forum’s Annual Conference. It was more than worth the 800 mile round trip, even if  I’ve been ill ever since.

Our own Mary Reid had a major hand in the organisation of the event, which was attended by over 200 people. She did a fantastic job. Everything ran smoothly and the food and drink on offer all day was …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 12 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRob Cannon 16th Jul - 1:07pm
    "And yes, talking to people in Wales during the B&R by-election they do feel that it’s better to have decisions made in Cardiff rather than...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 16th Jul - 12:54pm
    Part of the solution is creating a more stable tripartite structure to our governance where parliament, government and the judiciary have more distinct roles overseen...
  • User AvatarPaul Barker 16th Jul - 12:31pm
    @ David Raw You make some good points but I was really thinking of Labour since 1950. There have been 2 Labour Government that made...
  • User AvatarNick Barlow 16th Jul - 12:25pm
    The report that list of supposed benefits of uniform comes from contains no evidence to justify any of those claims.
  • User AvatarMick Taylor 16th Jul - 12:11pm
    Peter Martin. I want real devolution with both the power and the cash to do the job properly. And yes, there will have to be...
  • User AvatarMatt (Bristol) 16th Jul - 12:10pm
    Call me a centrist fudging incrementalist, but I think this is as Simon says, a reasonable step forward with many positive points and different ways...