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The shadow housing minister Rt Hon John Healy MP does an AMA On Reddit



John Healy Labour MP  &  UK Shadow Minster for housing  ,tonight had a ask me anything on Reddit , here is a selection  of Q and A 's ranging from beatles or rolling stones , politics :) , Rent to buy. below you will find the lucky few who questions where actually answered enjoy > some have been answered with links 


https://smithinstitutethinktank.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/high-aspirations-sound-foundations.pdf


[–]Tallis-man 16 points  
Looking forward to this. Quite a few questions, I'm afraid.
  1. What do you think have been the main effects of the Coalition government's housing policies, and (perhaps relatedly) are you worried about the possibility of a housing bubble?
  2. Do you expect the Labour party to adopt as policy some kind of large-scale public house-building programme? (in the style of Attlee, or Macmillan under Churchill) Are you personally in favour of such a scheme? (if not, how would you think it best to go about resolving the housing shortage?)
  3. Do you think there should be restrictions on absentee ownership in places like London?
  4. Do you have any ideas for increasing the right-to-buy replacement rate?
  5. Do you think we should revive the idea of New Towns and/or Garden Cities? (perhaps with a modern carbon-neutral twist?)
  6. Do you think there's a case for introducing a proper national space standard to stop new-build homes from shrinking? (e.g. the average new build is 76m2 whilst the average home is 85m2; in Ireland new builds are 88m2; in the Netherlands, 116m2, and in Denmark, 137m2.)
[edited to add q.6]
[–]johnhealey[S] [score hidden]  
Let me take a couple of these...
  1. Main effects of the Coalition government's housing policies have been Five Years of Failure. Read my full argument here: https://www.scribd.com/doc/282692395/150921-Five-Years-of-Failure
  2. Yes we do need to think about public house-building. My Smith Institute Report made the case for building 100 000 new public homes a year by 2020 - and showed how we can do it, and above all how we can pay for it. But of course Government ministers going in opposite direction ...

Would Labour consider introducing some kind of land value tax?
This is a tax on the unimproved value of land, not taxing the value of any of the improvements on the land, which could replace other property taxes such as council tax. It removes the ability of landowners to profit from rising land prices without doing any work to improve their land, discourages hoarding of land and encourages people developing valuable land and so more house building. It's very hard to avoid (you can't just hide land) and could potentially raise quite a lot of revenue. It's progressive, but it's also very popular among mainstream and even fairly right-wing economists - Milton Friedman said that it was the "least bad tax". It seems like an ideal housing policy for Labour at the moment, but I haven't heard any discussion of it, which is odd since Corbyn has opened up space for more radical policies in the party. Is it something you're looking into at the moment?
[–]alittleeconMMT 18 points  
Successive governments have seemed reluctant to actually pay for the construction of new housing, whether they be council housing or homes for shared ownership. Labour's policy on housing appears to be to lift the limits on what local authorities can borrow for house-building, but would Labour now actually fund the building of new homes from central government funds, and if so at what level?
[–]johnhealey[S] [score hidden]  
The important thing about building new public homes is they pay for themselves because they're a long term investment.
It's the best thing my generation of politicians can do for the next generation of young people who will need affordable homes; and the generation after that, and after that ...

[–]nestofpigs 6 points  
Hi John,
I want to ask you about the social rented sector.
The Centre for Housing Policy in their 2015 Briefing Paper comment on the need to support the social rented sector, and suggest that the current Government's policy platform is likely only to erode it further:
The government has majored on boosting homeownership whereas most would see the two key issues as supply and affordability. Against a background of inevitable continuing high levels of renting, no matter what the government does to boost ownership if they neglect affordability as a major issue in the rented sector they will undermine their own welfare cuts and increase the inequalities in how housing wealth is distributed.
The government has turned its face against restraining private sector rents, but while welfare cuts increasingly affect access to the sector in high-pressure areas, government policy is forcing up rents in the social sector and eroding the stock available at genuinely affordable rents. Both supply and affordability would receive a huge boost if the government were to respond to the crisis by investing in new social rented housing. But social landlords’ capacity to invest will in reality be further challenged by the next wave of welfare cuts.
What commitments can you make to how you will approach the social rented sector and its role in the wider tenure mix?
Thanks for doing this AMA.
[–]johnhealey[S] [score hidden]  
Thanks for the question.
Conservative ministers have been choking off social housing for the last five years. The new housing bill is designed to kill it off for good.
Truth is we can't build the homes we need without public housing - to rent and to buy - playing a much bigger role than it does currently.

[–]tamayimpalaBritain isn't Twitter 10 points  
Hi John,
My question in short:
How does the Labour Party and its new front bench plan to turn around people's perceptions of you - from incompetent to being considered trusted potential stewards of the UK's economy?
In long form:
The Tory government is a formidable opponent. The vast majority of the British public consider Cameron and Osborne to be the safest pair of hands to steer the UK economy, over Corbyn and McDonnell. Cameron and Osborne only have to say something that sounds halfway competent in a confident-sounding tone, in order for most people to say "yep, sounds good, keep it up". The truth is of course that they're smashing away at the foundations of what makes (made?) this country a great one.
How will Labour turn this around? How does Labour get past the fact that most people barely pay attention to politics until election time? And that the vast majority of people are not financial policy experts or 'wonks' when it comes to economic policy? The brutal fact is that it's easier and sounds more palatable for the Tories to come up with easily digestible, substance-light soundbites like, "trust us - we're making hard decisions on public spending to create a stable future" (nearly a direct quote from Tory manifesto 2015) over Labour saying: "trust us - we need to invest large sums of money and raise taxes that will be painful and difficult to sustain in the short term but will pay off for everyone in the future".
As Reagan said: "if you're explaining, you're losing."
Any ideas how this will be accomplished? Because right now it's looking pretty bleak...
[–]johnhealey[S] [score hidden]  
Labour's got to win back trust on the economy - we've done it before and won elections. We can do it again.
The Tories have been better than us at common-sense soundbites on the economy - but Osborne's making serious misjudgements and mistakes. And we as Labour have got to get better at making our arguments, strongly and plainly.
For example on investment and the deficit - just like so many households take out a mortgage (borrow for long term benefit) to buy a family home, so governments should also borrow to invest in new homes or infrastructure when it makes everyone better off.


[–]tumblerat 8 points  
Hi John. Thanks for doing this AMA. One of your constituents here! I only recently learned you were Shadow Minister for Housing and Planning, and as it happens that highly relevant to my questions.
Obviously one of the hot topics at the moment is the one widely labelled as the 'Housing Crisis'. There is tremendous pressure on governments to get more houses built, and to make them affordable for new buyers.
Your constituency has seen a huge amount of development lately; several very big warehouse / distribution centres and offices. There are also several large-scale housing developments. I'm not even 30 years old, and parts of the area are virtually unrecognisable from the place I grew up. It's a landscape of concrete and it's continuously creeping out into the little green space we still have left.
To me, the area is already over-developed and so is much of the country. As minister for housing and planning, and as MP of the area throughout much of this transformation, at what point do you think we need to stop building out into our green spaces? What other factors do you think are relevant to the 'Housing Crisis' that you think we can tacklewithout having to pave over the countryside?
Secondly, a related question. At the same time, many council estates are falling into neglect. Where I live, there is now a mix of owned properties and council houses. Virtually every owned house here is now up for sale, and it's universally due to the areas' general neglect, mostly due to [a minority of] council tenants who treat the area as a dumping ground (and think it's not their responsibility anyway). No-one wants to buy into the area (and why would they when there are so many new builds about?). Surely part of the solution to a housing problem is to stop areas like mine falling into this state?
[–]johnhealey[S] [score hidden]  
I'm an AMA first-timer so bear with me... thanks for having me. Here goes.
Hi tumblerat. Great to hear early question from a constituent.
Every era sees areas develop; if they don't they die. To stop unfettered development we have greenbelt land - around 13% of the land area of England - and local elected councils have a duty to plan for the future ...this has to balance needs for housing, jobs, leisure and open space. Tough job but better in my view that councillors who can be removed by election by the people affected make decisions, than minsters from desks in London.
We need more homes in Rotherham - many desperate people come to see me as their MP because they can't get anywhere they can afford to rent or buy. And we have areas we can still develop without eating into the most beautiful parts of the borough ...the council's consultation over plans for the future continues. I hope you'll have your say.
On council estates - these had had years neglect under Tory governments when I was first elected in 1997 and Labour invested £22bn in decent homes, improving the housing conditions of over 1.4m homes - that means thousands of families in our area with new kitchens or bathrooms, insulation, windows with double glazing and back doors that fit...proud of that record ...and already falling back as Tory ministers again cutting back funding for areas like ours


[–]Patch86UK/r/LabourUK [score hidden]  
Hi John
Many thanks once again for agreeing to do this! All of us over at /r/LabourUK have been very excited! In the unlikely event that you get bitten by the Reddit bug, we'd always be happy to have you drop in and hang out with us ;)
My question for you. Once upon a time, a certain Labour Leadership candidate (Corbyn) suggested that Right To Buy should be extended to Private Landlord / Renter situations. Was this just a tongue-in-cheek quip re: the government's Right To Buy for Housing Associations, or is this going to be made into Labour Party policy? If so, could you give any more details or arguments for it?
[–]johnhealey[S] [score hidden]  
Thank you for inviting me Patch86UK!
I think the comment was meant to highlight the extreme step in extending RtB to housing associations which are totally independent (not public) organisations and in many case charities - they're not the government's to sell.
And on Labour policy ...Jeremy Corbyn made clear to the first meeting of Labour MPs after he was elected ...his campaign policies were consultative...and part of his aim to see a much wider open debate, in Labour and beyond. That's what we've got to do now.
[–]YourMumsPal [score hidden]  
Hi John.
Thanks for doing this AMA. I hope it encourages a lot of your colleagues from both sides of the house to do the same thing.
I would like to know if there is anything that you and your party can do to make housing more affordable and accessible for people. At the moment it is incredibly difficult to afford the minimum deposit required to buy a house. If you do manage to save enough money then there is no guarantee of success as everything from your credit score to your record of employment is taken into consideration. Young people are finding it very difficult just to gain a simple mortgage these days, meaning that home ownership is a distant dream. Many may never own their own home.
As a 27 year old married father of one, who has been renting privately for 8 years and saving for a mortgage for 5, I would like to know - can the government help to make houses more affordable for young, first time buyers?
[–]johnhealey[S] [score hidden]  
Thanks for this, YourMumsPal.
Levels of home ownership have slumped since 2010 - down each and every year, especially for young people who've lost out most. Over half of London renters are now paying over half their income in rent, and have no chance of putting together the deposit to get a chance to buy.
We need many more affordable homes to rent - and buy - but the Government's new housing legislation will choke these off in favour of new so-called 'starter homes' - good idea but being badly done when they're a non-starter for people on modest incomes ...Shelter say you'd still need to earn £77 000 a year, with a deposit of nearly £100 000 for a starter home based on average house prices in London ...not good enough, I say!
It's failing the very people the new scheme is supposed to help ...that's why I'm leading efforts in parliament to change the legislation
[–]Pallas_🙈🙉🙊 [score hidden]  
Hi John, Some quickfire questions for you:
What would be your perfect Sunday?
Should the House of Lords be reformed?
Should we remain in the European Union?
Should we remain a monarchy?
Sharpe or Hornblower?
[–]johnhealey[S] [score hidden]  
Empty diary. Two cups of tea. Long time over breakfast, with papers delivered on time. A pint at lunchtime. Then a bit of sport on TV.
Yes. Yes. Yes, though I'm lukewarm. Don't see enough TV to know! Dr Who for me
[–]MilkTheFrog [score hidden]  
Then what steps would you take towards that goal? It's all well and good supporting multilateralism but the reality of the situation is that scrapping trident is something we can actually realistically do now, relatively safely considering our position in NATO and the size of our conventional military, and that trident itself is inadequate to act as a deterrent against Russia, the only nuclear state we would conceivably use it against, and inappropriate to deal with the real issues facing our military in the modern world.
[–]johnhealey[S] [score hidden]  
Depends on what you want your country to be, MilkTheFrog; one capable of leading international opinion and action - on all fronts - or one content to shelter behind others. We are one of the only five permanent members of the UN security council; we are one of the most influential in NATO...and under the last Labour government we used this - multilaterally - to reduce nuclear warheads and stockpiles. Strong defence is sometimes about preventing - not just pursuing - military action

Hi John, cheers for doing an AMA here.
You backed Yvette Cooper for the leadership over Jeremy Corbyn, what made her a superior candidate in your eyes?
Also, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
Thanks.
[–]johnhealey[S] [score hidden]  
Yes. I backed Yvette. Because she has experience at the top, knows the pressure, reaches people who have little interest in politics ...and I thought the time was ripe for Labour to have a good woman leader.
And Beatles ...something I've been able to share with our son as he's grown up (never so keen on the Stones); and Jackie my wife prefers dancing to the Beatles than the Rolling Stones (with the sound cranked up in the kitchen)
[–]johnhealey[S] [score hidden]  
Good question! My first real job was nursing assistant on long stay ward in a mental hospital (in 1980s) - helping people shut up there for decades learn to live independently outside hospital. No support and no rights then.
My decision: continue to work with people on a personal level to try to help them; or work to change the system. I later went to work for the campaigning mental health charity MIND. And in 1986 wrote and coordinated the campaign for the new Disabled Persons Act - including rights to an assessment of needs for long-stay psychiatric patients before they leave hospital.
This is politics … seeing something you don't like, don't agree with and working with others to change...[–]Tsubouchi [score hidden]  
Thanks for doing an AMA, John.
Do you think Cameron will try and sell minor, insignificant changes to the EU as a major victory for Britain?
And what are your personal views on the EU? I remember Labour weren't that keen on allowing a referendum in the first place. Would you vote to remain in the EU regardless of how the negotiations go?
[–]johnhealey[S] [score hidden]  
That's it. I'm done and signing off AMA. Thanks for following, and especially for asking the questions. And sorry for the interruption in the middle to vote ...our last one tonight is set for around midnight. Have a good evening all...

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