One of today's leading news stories focuses on the call of new group; The Intergenerational Foundation, for tax breaks to encourage older people to downsize and help free up family-size houses.
It is estimated there are 25 million unused bedrooms in England, and this charity say that while many people are living longer and staying in what was once their family home, younger families are being squeezed into smaller properties.
The group doesn't seem to want older people to be forced to move, but many people reading the article (see the 380 comments!) have highlighted the sentiment seems to imply that remaining in a house larger than you require is selfish.
To read the full story click here.
What do you think?
Is it selfish for people to continue living in big family houses with multiple bedrooms going unused?
Or is a home more than just walls and rooms?
Would tax breaks encourage you to downsize?
Very interesting debates going on around this!
Sir, just to jog your memory, and ensure that the context is correct:
" Yet a society that cannot cap the income of the undeserving rich – witness the latest row over bank bonuses this week – but is quite happy to cut off funds to the poor is a society that has learned nothing from its own history."
The above is the complete sentence, with the original wording at the end, copied and pasted from the article.
Was'nt it John F. Kennedy who said "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ?
actually the idea that unemployment keeps inflation down does not seem to hold true now does it, because inflation is going up.... I know in the 70's in New Zealand we experienced a similar slump and the philosophy was to subsidise companies that provided "minimum pay" employment for out of work people. I was one of them and was employed as a field officer by the Dept of Labour to look for work for university students in the holidays! My wage was just above the minimum and lasted for six months. I was in my 50's and virtually unemployable. My daughter came to England because although qualified as a primary teacher, there was no work in NZ. However, being on the inside so to speak, I was able to get jobs for my sons.
The loan providers to the government set the terms for the loans, that included the breaking up of welfare socialism and stripping of assets, use of pension schemes (sometimes wrongly invested) to shore up the economy, and restructuring.... obviously favouring the investors. In the 1990's ten year plan manufacturing was to give way to financial services, but what was planned for the next decade I do not know... possibly an environmental global economy based on climate change. Dr. Hideyuki Kamiryo, who is one of the world's top economists and a good friend of mine, has developed endogenous economics which he claims will solve the global problems peacefully. Sadly I may not live long enough to see it, and neither will he, but I hope he is right.
Yes it does. Since Thatcher in the 80's, over 3 million unemployed was a price worth paying to keep inflation low.
It is the same now under this right wing Tory lead coalition.
yes I realise what you mean.... I suppose inflation might be even higher than it is now if people had spending power. However, inflation was very low when people were buying a lot in the boom years, so how do you explain that? It is now up to over 4% and interest is very low on investments. In the previous slump interest was high... is there a connection?
Thatcher ruined a lot of lives but she would have said she was putting right what the Socialists had done in the 60's. I think Ayn Rand had a lot to answer for and the free market.....
What in your view had Labour done wrong in the 60's then ?
well, looking at the model that Morrison put in place, Ayn Rand and her cohorts suggested that spending money would help to automatically level off the shortfall... and create a balanced economy. Unfortunately the country's pension investments were used to prop up money making schemes that failed. People were encouraged to spend instead of save resulting in huge national debt. Debts then became a commodity to be bought. We emigrated to NZ in 1960 and the effects did not catch up til the 70's. NZ had been run like a Polish shipyard, but then the World Bank stepped in with persuading us to adopt a capitalist socialism, investing large sums from the pension scheme into "think big policies" under Muldoon, resulting in dismal failure and stripping of assets.
I was fortunate to be privy to the Planning Committee papers that covered social planning over decades. Originally NZ was an agricultural economy, a garden for exporting to Britain and supplying US forces in the Pacific. When Britain joined the EEC we had to find other markets - Japan, India, and now China and S.America. Previous manufacturing companies like Fletchers who provided prefab buildings, diversified into kiwi fruit orchards and forestry and went off shore. We developed technology and various service industries but never really got out of the red. Although our universities were some of the best in the world, our skilled people had no jobs and went away.
At present it appears that the policy is to make it impossible for people to spend money, either because of unemployment or by high inflation. Giving someone a bonus of shares that may or may not accrue interest is not the same as cash in the bank, or value of stock that can be sold on. If someone gave me a packet of shares I would not be able to trade them for food for example, nor would they pay the rent. They are just bits of paper saying I had an interest in the company.... that may fold any time..... stocks on the other hand are worth what someone is willing to pay cash for, like gold for example.... or scrap metal.
Asset stripping is part of the old game, and someone always makes a fortune out of it. Its called restructuring now.
I am refering to traditional Labour Government's prior to the 80's.
I would like you to tell me where in your view their policies went wrong in Britain ?
by adopting the philosophy of spending your way out of a recession and using the pension scheme as a prop for questionable investments resulting in the bust. It all started out in a response to the Great Depression and a philanthropic view that created the Welfare State. In Sociology it is referred to as a peaceful revolution when Socialist views were adopted and railways, coalmines, hospitals etc. etc. were taken over by the State and landed gentry were taxed heavily on their estates. It was a remarkable and enviable idea but impossible to sustain. It was a benign form of Communism that failed because in an equal society, some are more equal than others... usually the ones who shout the loudest. I have explained that we went to NZ in 1960 but what went on there also went on in Britain.
The hand in glove association with powerful Trade Unions made negotiations almost impossible and ruined the shipping and steel industries through strikes and demands for higher wages (possibly justified but it meant off shore workers were the beneficiaries and there was a slow decline here).
It is also worth mentioning that it was also the beginning of the end of the British Empire and various other privileges, which might not have been a bad thing but altered trade.
Left Wing Socialism does not allow for innovation and tall poppies are liable to get their heads lopped off. The resulting brain drain left Britain without skilled workers...... they mostly went to Australia, USA and Canada.
Would I be right in assuming that you are a Tory ?
no Michael I'm definitely not... I'm not really a political person but have an interest in its effects on society.