Thursday, January 6, 2011
Give a Progressive an inch, and they will take a mile. If you thought that the environmentalist carbon footprint was an absurd scam, than you haven’t heard of the newest fad that is spreading throughout the U.K.: housing footprints. That’s right; people who live in McMansions are selfish S.O.B.’s who are denying others their fair share of “space”.
A writer from the Guardian laments the audacity of homeowners and their absurd need for elbow room in a new term called “under occupation”:
The only occasions on which you'll hear politicians talk about this is when they're referring to public housing. Many local authorities are trying to encourage their tenants to move into smaller homes. But public and social housing account for only 11% of the problem. The government reports that the rise in under-occupation "is entirely due to a large increase within the owner-occupied sector". Nearly half of England's private homeowners are now knocking around in more space than they need.
And apparently they have a mathematical equation set just for selfish pricks that have the nerve to own their home:
While reducing under-occupancy can't solve the crisis of provision by itself, and there will still be a need for new construction, a better distribution of the housing we've built already would help to relieve the pressure on both people and places. First, we need to see the problem. I suggest a new concept: housing footprints. Your housing footprint is the number of bedrooms divided by the number of people in the household. Like ecological footprints, it reminds us that the resource is finite, and that, if some people take more than they need, others are left with less than they need.
The next step is to reverse the UK's daft fiscal incentive to under-occupy your home. If you live by yourself, regardless of the size of your property, you get a 25% council tax discount. The rest of us, in other words, subsidise wealthy single people who want to keep their spare rooms empty. Those who use more than their fair share should pay for the privilege, with a big tax penalty for under-occupation. If it prompts them either to take in a lodger or to move into a smaller home in a lower tax band, so much the better.
And why is it that the U.K. has such a housing shortage, when the author acknowledges that native Britons are not populating at a robust pace?
Though the proportion of homes occupied by just one person rose sharply between 1961 and 2001, there has been no increase since then. The formation of single households can't account for the growth in under-occupancy between 2003 and 2008. The proportion of couples without children has also remained stable since 2001. Fertility rates have increased over this period – from 1.63 babies per woman in 2001 to 1.96 in 2009 – so a general absence of children doesn't explain it either. Nor can it be blamed on the elderly: except through devastating war, no population can age by 45% in six years. The divorce rate fell in 2008 to its lowest level since 1979. Marriage has declined, but cohabitation has risen. The overall rate of household formation rose only slightly during the period in which under-occupancy has boomed.
Well, if Britons aren’t breeding like rabbits, than what could possibly be responsible for the influx of such a huge housing shortage? Could it be immigrants? And I wonder what kind of immigrants Great Britain is importing?
H/T: Lonely Conservative