Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: Inequality, Housing, Renting, Evictions, Homelessness and House Prices

Andrew, Eating

We’ve been compiling these statistics over the past two years and longer, and we try to keep them updated as often as possible as things grow rapidly worse; but any corrections will be investigated, and any new additions that can be substantiated are welcome. The conclusions we draw from them are our own, but will hopefully be shared, one day, by the millions of people whose homes and lives they describe.

PART 1: INEQUALITY

THE WEALTH OF THE RICHEST 1 PER CENT OF THE BRITISH POPULATION IS EQUAL TO THE WEALTH OF THE POOREST 55 PER CENT.

THE 5 RICHEST BRITISH FAMILIES ARE AS WEALTHY AS THE POOREST 20 PER CENT OF THE BRITISH POPULATION.
* That’s 12.6 million people.

THE WEALTH OF THE RICHEST 1000 PEOPLE IN BRITAIN HAS DOUBLED IN THE PAST TEN YEARS TO £658 BILLION.
* More than a third of the annual economic output of the entire U.K.

BRITAIN HAS 134 BILLIONAIRES, THE MOST PER CAPITA OF ANY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.
* That’s one for every 489,000 people, more per head of population than any other nation in the G20.

LONDON’S 80 BILLIONAIRES IS THE MOST OF ANY CITY IN THE WORLD.
* With a total wealth of £325 billion, more than the GDP of Ireland or South Africa.

THE £9 TRILLION OF PRIVATE WEALTH IN BRITAIN IS HELD BY JUST 34 PER CENT OF THE POPULATION.*
* The remaining 66 per cent holds no positive financial assets at all.

THE GAP BETWEEN RICH AND POOR IN BRITAIN IS THE LARGEST IN THE WEST.
* The poorest 40 per cent of the British population share a lower proportion of the national wealth, only 14.6 per cent, than in any other Western country.

THE INCOMES OF THE RICHEST 20 PER CENT OF THE BRITISH POPULATION IS 105 TIMES HIGHER THAN THE POOREST 20 PER CENT.

JUST 0.3 PER CENT OF THE BRITISH POPULATION – 160,000 FAMILIES – OWN TWO THIRDS OF THE LAND.
* Making Britain second only to Brazil as the country with the most unequal land distribution in the world.

OVER 1,000,000 PROVISIONS OF THREE DAYS’ EMERGENCY FOOD WERE HANDED OUT AT FOOD BANKS IN BRITAIN OVER THE PAST YEAR.
* Including 415,866 to children.

391 PEOPLE IN THE UK DIED OF MALNUTRITION IN 2015.

THERE HAS BEEN A 71 PER CENT INCREASE IN HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS FOR PATIENTS SUFFERING FROM MALNUTRITION.
* From 3,900 admissions in 2009-10 to 6,690 admissions in 2013-14.

IN 2013-14 MORE THAN 86,000 HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS INVOLVED PATIENTS DIAGNOSED WITH GOUT CAUSED BY A LACK OF VITAMIN C.
* An increase of 78 per cent in five years.

CASES OF SCARLET FEVER ADMITTED TO HOSPITAL DOUBLED LAST YEAR FROM 403 TO 845.
* With a rise in other illnesses such as scurvy, cholera and whooping cough caused by malnutrition.

BRITAIN HAS THE SIXTH LARGEST ECONOMY IN THE WORLD.

PART 2: HOUSING

26 OF THE 100 RICHEST PEOPLE IN THE UK LIST PROPERTY AS A MAJOR SOURCE OF THEIR WEALTH.
* 10 make their money from finance, 10 from investment, 7 from retail and 6 from industry.

THERE ARE 164 PROPERTY MOGULS IN THE RICHEST 1,000 PEOPLE IN BRITAIN, WITH A COMBINED WEALTH OF £143.7 BILLION.
* Financiers, by contrast, are worth £65.2 billion.

THE AVERAGE PRICE OF A HOME IN GREATER LONDON IS NEARLY HALF A MILLION POUNDS.
* Currently £488,729, and around £726,000 in Central London.

2 PER CENT OF NEW-BUILD HOMES IN CENTRAL LONDON IN 2014 WERE BOUGHT BY NON-U.K. RESIDENT OWNERS.

61 PER CENT OF NEW-BUILD HOMES IN GREATER LONDON ARE BOUGHT AS AN INVESTMENT.

IN 2015-16 PUBLIC SECTOR SPENDING ON HOUSING CAME TO £28 BILLION.

PROPERTY WEALTH IN BRITAIN INCREASED BY NEARLY £400 BILLION IN THE TWO YEARS UP TO DECEMBER 2015.
* And the wealth of the richest 10 per cent of UK households increased by 21 per cent.

THE ESTIMATED TOTAL VALUE OF THE HOUSING STOCK IN ENGLAND IN 2015 WAS £5.6 TRILLION.
* An increase of £1 trillion since 2010, and now nearly 60 per cent of the UK’s entire net wealth.

THE 80 PER CENT MARKET RATE ON SO-CALLED ‘AFFORDABLE HOMES’ IN LONDON’S NEW-BUILD HOMES REQUIRES A SALARY OF £44,500.
*The median household income in London is £30,500.

IN 2015, 5,300 TWO-BEDROOM HOMES WERE SOLD IN LONDON FOR BETWEEN £650,000 AND £1 MILLION.
* Compared with only 2,000 for less than £300,000.

THE RATIO BETWEEN HOUSE PRICES AND PERSONAL DISPOSABLE INCOME IN LONDON IN 2016 WAS THE HIGHEST IT HAS EVER BEEN.
* Surpassing levels before the sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2007.

PART 3: RENTING

64 PER CENT OF HOMES IN ENGLAND ARE OWNER-OCCUPIED, 18 PER CENT ARE PRIVATELY RENTED, AND 17 PER CENT ARE SOCIALLY RENTED.

LESS THAN 10,000 HOMES FOR SOCIAL RENT WERE BUILT IN ENGLAND IN 2014-15.
* The lowest number since records began in 1991-92.

THE AVERAGE PRIVATE SECTOR RENTS IN LONDON ARE MORE THAN DOUBLE THE NATIONAL AVERAGE.
* £2,216 per month for a two-bedroom home.

AS OF MARCH 2017 THE AVERAGE MONTHLY RENT IN LONDON WAS £1,203.
* The average in England was £833 per month.

PRIVATE RENTS IN BRITAIN HAVE RISEN TO DOUBLE THE COST OF COUNCIL PROPERTIES.

A QUARTER OF PEOPLE RENTING IN BRITAIN RELY ON HOUSING BENEFIT TO MEET THE COST OF ACCOMMODATION.

£20.9 BILLION WAS SPENT ON HOUSING BENEFIT IN ENGLAND IN 2015-16.

IN THE TWO YEARS LEADING UP TO 2016, ALMOST 59,000 HOUSEHOLDS HAD THEIR BENEFITS CAPPED TO A MAXIMUM OF £26,000 PER YEAR.
* Nearly half of those households were in London.

A THIRD OF HOMES IN THE PRIVATE RENTED SECTOR DO NOT MEET THE GOVERNMENT’S DECENT HOMES STANDARDS FOR HEALTH, SAFETY AND HABITABILITY.

A THIRD OF PEOPLE LIVING IN POVERTY IN ENGLAND AND WALES LIVE IN PRIVATE RENTED ACCOMMODATION.
* Up a fifth from a decade ago.

OVER THE PREVIOUS FIVE YEARS, THE NUMBER OF RENTED HOUSEHOLDS IN ENGLAND AND WALES THAT WERE EVICTED HAS MORE THAN TREBLED.
* To 18,000 households evicted in 2014/15.

46 PER CENT OF 16-34 YEAR-OLDS WERE RENTING FROM PRIVATE LANDLORDS IN 2016.
* Up from 21 per cent in 1996

IN 2014-15, 40,000 HOMES WERE BUILT IN BRITAIN BY HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS.
* 5,464 were for social rent, 5,205 were for private sale, and 8,797 were for ‘affordable’ rent, up to 80 per cent of market price.

IN 2015-16, GOVERNMENT FUNDING THROUGH THE HOMES AND COMMUNITIES AGENCY BUILT 602 HOMES FOR SOCIAL RENT.
* In 2009-10 it provided 28,859.

BETWEEN 2012 AND 2015, THE NUMBER OF HOUSING ASSOCIATION HOMES FOR SO-CALLED ‘AFFORDABLE’ RENT ROSE FROM 7,354 TO 123,264.
* With 76,259 converted from homes for social rent.

OVER THE NEXT QUARTER OF A CENTURY RENTS ARE PREDICTED TO RISE AT TWICE THE RATE OF INCOMES.
* And renters will be twice as likely to live in poverty (i.e. living in a household with less than 60 per cent the median UK income).

PART 4: EVICTIONS

THERE WERE 37,839 COURT-ORDERED EVICTIONS IN ENGLAND AND WALES IN 2014/15.
* Four times the 8,034 mortgage repossessions. 19,539 of these evictions were by social landlords.

THERE WERE UP TO 200,000 REVENGE EVICTIONS IN BRITAIN IN 2013.
* In response to tenants complaining about housing standards.

NEARLY 42,000 FAMILIES WERE EVICTED FROM RENTAL ACCOMMODATION IN 2014.
* The highest number since records began in 2000.

42,226 REPOSSESSION CLAIMS WERE MADE BY LANDLORDS IN THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF 2015, UP 10 PER CENT ON THE PREVIOUS QUARTER.
* 64 per cent of claims were made by social landlords.

A TOTAL OF 42,728 HOUSEHOLDS IN RENTED ACCOMMODATION IN ENGLAND AND WALES WERE EVICTED BY BAILIFFS IN 2015.
*The highest number since records began in 2000, and a 53 per cent increase from five years ago.

IN THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF 2015, COUNTY COURT BAILIFFS IN ENGLAND AND WALES EVICTED 11,300 FAMILIES.
* An increase of 8 per cent on the same period last year, and 51 per cent higher than five years ago.

16,500 HOMES WERE REPOSSESSED IN LONDON IN 2014.
* 94 per cent were rented properties repossessed by social or private landlords.

EVICTIONS FOR RENT ARREARS FROM HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS IN BRITAIN INCREASED FROM 7,535 IN 2010 TO 9,425 IN 2015.

IN THE THREE YEARS UP TO APRIL 2015, MORE THAN 50,000 FAMILIES WERE FORCIBLY MOVED OUT OF THEIR LONDON BOROUGH.

PART 5: HOMELESSNESS

AS OF APRIL 2016, 1,183,779 HOUSEHOLDS WERE ON LOCAL AUTHORITY HOUSING WAITING LISTS IN ENGLAND.

AS OF MARCH 2016, 71,500 HOUSEHOLDS IN ENGLAND WERE LIVING IN TEMPORARY ACCOMMODATION.

AS OF JUNE 2017, 307,000 PEOPLE IN BRITAIN, ONE IN EVERY 200, ARE HOMELESS, AN INCREASE OF 13,000 OVER THE PREVIOUS YEAR.
* 281,000 are in temporary accommodation, 21,300 are in homeless hostels or social services housing, and 4,500 are sleeping rough.

IN LONDON, 1 IN EVERY 59 PEOPLE ARE HOMELESS.

IN THE PREVIOUS FIVE YEARS, THE NUMBER OF HOUSEHOLDS PLACED IN TEMPORARY ACCOMMODATION IN BRITAIN HAS RISEN BY A QUARTER.

THE NUMBER OF FAMILIES LIVING IN BED AND BREAKFASTS IN BRITAIN MORE THAN TRIPLED IN FIVE YEARS.
* From 630 in 2010 to 2,040 in 2015.

280,000 HOUSEHOLDS IN BRITAIN ARE CURRENTLY AT RISK OF HOMELESSNESS.

250,000 HOUSEHOLDS IN LONDON ARE ON HOUSING WAITING LISTS.

240,000 HOUSEHOLDS, WITH 320,000 CHILDREN, ARE LIVING IN OVERCROWDED ACCOMMODATION.

53,343 LONDON HOUSEHOLDS, WITH OVER 90,000 CHILDREN, ARE HOMELESS AND LIVING IN TEMPORARY ACCOMMODATION.
* A 9 per cent annual increase, and 75 per cent of the national total.

592,000 CHILDREN IN LONDON ARE LIVING BELOW THE POVERTY LINE.
* 37 per cent of all children in the capital.

THERE WERE 36,540 BED SPACES FOR SINGLE HOMELESS PEOPLE IN ENGLAND IN 2015.
* 7,115 fewer than in 2010.

THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE SLEEPING ROUGH IN LONDON INCREASED BY 6 PER CENT IN 2015-16 TO AN ESTIMATED 8,096 PEOPLE.
* More than double the 3,673 in 2009-10.

MORE THAN 200,000 HOMES IN ENGLAND WITH A TOTAL VALUE OF £43 BILLION WERE EMPTY FOR AT LEAST SIX MONTHS DURING 2016.

AS OF FEBRUARY 2016, 22,000 HOMES IN LONDON HAVE BEEN LEFT EMPTY FOR MORE THAN SIX MONTHS.*
* More than a third, 8,560, have been empty for over two years; and 1,150 homes have been empty for over a decade (not including the City of Westminster, which withheld figures).

MORE THAN A MILLION UK HOUSEHOLDS ARE AT RISK OF BECOMING HOMELESS BY 2020.

PART 6: HOUSE PRICES

AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE IN LONDON BY BOROUGH
* In November 2015

Kensington & Chelsea: £1,658,563
City of Westminister : £1,385,797
Camden: £1,049,673
Hammersmith and Fulham: £951,328
City of London: £804,600
Wandsworth: £789,115
Richmond upon Thames: £773,433
Islington: £700,625
Southwark: £637,274
Merton: £633,739
Haringey: £613,292
Barnet: £611,318
Ealing: £606,001
Hackney: £589,164
Lambeth: £559,716
Brent: £543,277
Tower Hamlets: £515,588
Kingston upon Thames: £513,695
Hounslow: £504,562
Harrow: £489,725
Bromley: £456,810
Greenwich: £447,187
Lewisham: £431,060
Hillingdon: £422,290
Enfield: £416,049
Redbridge: £415,639
Waltham Forest: £411,215
Sutton: £376,388
Croydon: £362,518
Havering: £342,354
Newham: £340,670
Bexley: £311,097
Barking and Dagenham: £258,631

THE AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE IN GREATER LONDON IS £597,860.

THE AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE IN CENTRAL LONDON IS £970,892.

PART 7: THE HOUSING AND PLANNING ACT

A £450,000 ‘STARTER HOME’ IN LONDON REQUIRES A SALARY OF £77,000.
* And a deposit of £97,000.

‘STARTER HOMES’ ARE UNAFFORDABLE IN 98 PER CENT OF THE COUNTRY FOR PEOPLE ON LOW INCOMES.
* And in 58 per cent of the country for those on middle incomes.

40 PER CENT OF EX-COUNCIL FLATS SOLD THROUGH ‘RIGHT TO BUY’ ARE NOW BEING RENTED OUT MORE EXPENSIVELY BY PRIVATE LANDLORDS.

214,000 HOUSEHOLDS WILL BE AFFECTED BY ‘PAY TO STAY’ ACROSS ENGLAND.
* And in London, most of the 27,000 households affected will be unable either to afford to rent privately or to buy in the same area.

ALMOST 113,000 COUNCIL HOMES IN ENGLAND WILL BE FORCIBLY SOLD AS ‘HIGH VALUE’ HOUSING.
* 78,778 of these homes will be lost from the 20 most affected local authorities, with half of these in Central London.

THE PROPOSED VALUES OVER WHICH ‘HIGH VALUE’ HOMES IN LONDON WILL BE SOLD IS:
* 1-bedroom: £340,000; 2-bedroom: £400,000; 3-bedroom: £490,000; 4-bedroom: £790,000; 5+ bedroom: £1,205,000.

THE PERCENTAGE OF HOMES OVER ‘HIGH VALUE’ THRESHOLDS IN CENTRAL LONDON IS:
* Kensington & Chelsea: 97 per cent; Westminster: 76.2 per cent; Hammersmith & Fulham: 50.3 per cent; Camden: 49.8 per cent; Islington: 24 per cent; Southwark: 9.5 per cent; Lambeth: 9.4 per cent.

THE TOTAL NUMBER OF HOMES IN CENTRAL LONDON ABOVE THE ‘HIGH VALUE’ THRESHOLD IS:
* Camden: 7,494; Westminster: 5,830; Kensington & Chelsea: 4,369; Hammersmith & Fulham: 3,951; Southwark: 3,755; Islington: 3,711; Lambeth: 2,337.

IN THE 20 BOROUGHS LIKELY TO BE HARDEST HIT, 159,014 PEOPLE ARE ON COUNCIL HOUSING WAITING LISTS.
* With 22,371 children living in temporary accommodation.

PART 8: WHAT CRISIS?

THERE WAS NO FINANCIAL CRISIS –
There is a Class War being waged by the rich.

THERE IS NO HOUSING CRISIS –
There is a Class War being waged through housing.

THERE IS NO DEFICIT CRISIS –
There is a Class War being waged against the poor.

THERE IS NO BENEFITS CRISIS –
There is a Class War being waged on the vulnerable.

THERE IS NO ECONOMIC CRISIS –
There is a Class War being waged against workers.

THERE IS NO N.H.S. CRISIS –
There is a Class War being waged against the sick.

THERE IS NO EDUCATION CRISIS –
There is a Class War being waged against students.

THERE IS NO POPULATION CRISIS –
There is a Class War being waged against immigrants.

THERE IS NO URBAN DENSITY CRISIS –
There is a Class War being waged in the inner cities.

THERE IS NO ELECTORAL CRISIS –
There is a Class War being waged politically.

THERE IS NO SOCIAL CRISIS –
There is a Class War being waged across society.

And we need to win it . . .

Architects for Social Housing

Illustration by Andrew Cooper

Facts and Figures on Central Hill Estate

Your Central Hill Estate

Option for In-Fill and Refurbishment: Report by Lambeth Council

Financial and Legal Considerations

  • Homes for Lambeth and Lambeth Council are separate legal entities – so the new company would be taking on an early debt for properties on which it had no legal ownership status, and would not therefore represent assets against which debt could be incurred.
  • £18.5 million – plus inflation would be a cost to the scheme.
  • An additional £18.5 million of borrowing would attract an interest charge of £1 million per annum.
  • There would still need to be a capital input from Lambeth to the scheme – in the region of £7 million.
  • The debt for the redevelopment (83 units) and refurbishment would be over a period of 30+ years, whereas the lifecycle of the elements replaced as part of a refurbishment option would be less.
  • The new entity would not have the asset base against which it could borrow finance to complete the refurbishment work.

Comment: Architects for Social Housing

If the organisation of Homes for Lambeth precludes refurbishment and infill, which is the most economically viable and environmentally sustainable design option, then Homes for Lambeth is the wrong economic model, not only for Central Hill but for all Lambeth regeneration schemes, which by its own admission it cannot refurbish. It puts the cart before the horse to let the legal structure of a company that has not even been created yet dictate the regeneration of an estate and the future of thousands of people’s lives across the borough. Given its declared intention to use this Special Purpose Vehicle, it is doubtful that Lambeth Council have ever considered infill and refurbishment as genuine options for estate regeneration. The only conclusion we can draw from this report is that Homes for Lambeth is a legal entity designed purely for the demolition and redevelopment of the borough’s housing estates. 

Continue reading “Facts and Figures on Central Hill Estate”

Viability Assessments and Section 106

The problems with section 106 agreements are primarily that they are negotiable and transferable. The fact that developers are able to negotiate their way out of what is agreed at planning (Section 106 agreement)  through ‘viability assessments’ – often claiming the agreed provision of affordable housing is no longer viable – effectively holds projects and councils to ransom. If the developer wishes for the contents to remain hidden, councils are not even entitled to read the assessments they are supposedly making judgement on. Greenwich has now set a precedent in insisting that viability assessments should be made public, so hopefully this will change. This doesn’t change the fact that councils simply don’t have the resources to challenge what are often vast and impenetrable documents – somehow this culture of viability assessments has to change.

And section 106 is transferable. Often – as in the case with Greenwich Peninsula – developers make a deal offering to trade their provision of affordable housing in their development for a project or sum of money which can be spent elsewhere in the borough. If we follow this logic, this does not achieve ‘mixed communities’, but ghettoes of rich and poor in opposite ends of the borough (if not ‘poor doors’). In reality this sum of money gets further and further negotiated and in many cases diminishes to next to nothing (Tottenham Hale for example http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/spurs-given-green-light-to-drop-affordable-homes/6520463.article

As section 106 is not solely about the provision of affordable housing, but a transferable contribution to the local amenity, what might originally have been the provision of 35% affordable housing in the Heygate became the provision of a community leisure centre which would have cost significantly less then the affordable housing, and also at the same time reduces the amount of affordable housing provided. The provision of affordable housing as part of section 106 should not be transferable.

No Guarantees!

The local Authority (Lambeth) makes lots of promises, but none of these are as yet legally binding. All of these promises can be reneged upon (as in any scheme) subject to a ‘viability assessment’. Further down the line, if the scheme is no longer financially viable, they will not be obliged to follow through necessarily with building ANY homes for council rent. It remains to be seen as to whether a certain percentage of homes assigned as council/ social rent, if specified in the planning document, can be altered at a later date. This has seen in the case of the Nothing Hill Housing Trust at the Aylesbury, where ‘Affordable’ and Social’ were grouped together under ‘Target’ and the result was the same overall number of target rents, but less ‘social’ and more ‘affordable’.

VAT

(from a VAT tax consultant:)

‘VAT is charged by default is charged at 20% – but the 5% rate is applicable under certain (very specific) circumstances

1.       The supply and fit of eligible Energy Saving Materials
2.       The renovation of premises unoccupied for more than 2 years
3.       Changing the number of individual dwellings in a property.

That said, where VAT is charged, may Local Authorities operate special rules that allow them to reclaim the VAT back from Treasury.’

As you are probably aware, new-build housing is VAT exempt. 20% is a huge weighting against maintaining the existing stock. Lambeth ought to come clean on this bias. The question how Lambeth intend to fund redevelopment still hangs. Central government, subject to pressure from the powerful construction lobby, see new-build as a means to kick-start the economy and produce lots of jobs. The fact that by constantly demolishing & pushing to land-fill is wasting embodied energy, is entirely peripheral to their concerns.

Lambeth’s ‘1000 homes’ Election Promise 2014

At the last local election the Labour party made an election promise to build 1000 additional council or social rent homes.

An assessment of (all?) Lambeth’s estates was conducted in 2012. ( We have still not obtained clarification from Lambeth as to how Knights walk was part of this because it is not an estate).

The residents understand that, because Knight’s walk is not in need to refurbishment to achieve LHS (the work which has in fact been done already) the only reason for Knight’s walk to be the subject of  regeneration is in order to build as many new homes as possible or satisfy their political agenda.

Questions:

On what research basis did they arrive at 1000 homes?

Did they specify, as part of their election promise, that homes would  need to be demolished in the process?

So they think that is this had been stated, that people would have been so keen to support that?

Did they ever have any funding for the proposed 1000 homes?

Was the funding of these new homes always reliant on the construction and selling-off of land and homes on the private market?