Socialist Worker

Tiny flats will do for you lot, says Gavin Barwell—housing minister with the plush pad

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2525

Gavin Barwell’s house cost twice the local average

Gavin Barwell’s house cost twice the local average (Pic: Department for Communities and Local Government/Flickr)


Tory housing minister Gavin Barwell has a bizarre solution to the housing crisis. He called on older people to leave their houses to their grandchildren rather than their children.

This ignores the fact that many people will never own their homes.

The number of private tenants is set to overtake people with mortgages by 2025, according to accounting firm PwC’s English Housing Survey.

Barwell’s comments followed his announcement on Tuesday of last week that Britain’s building regulations, already among the slackest in Europe, should be loosened further.

The privately-educated Barwell lives in a three quarters of a million pound house in the village of Sanderstead, South Croydon. That’s over twice the average price in the borough.

His idea of affordable housing is very different from people priced out of London and other cities where rising house prices are forcing up private rents.

His solution to the housing crisis includes companies like Pocket Living, which specialise in cramming people into small flats.

“If I was 22 today, I would rather have the chance to own that than be priced out,” he opined.

New houses built in Britain are already the smallest in Europe—half the size, on average, of the equivalent in Denmark.

The Tories’ solution to the housing crisis is more of the same market that created it. It’s about profit, not decent affordable homes.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has promised tens of thousands of new council homes a year if Labour is elected. Labour needs to be held to that promise, and pushed to defend what council housing has survived privatisation or “redevelopment”—often by Labour councils.

Campaigners are also fighting to overturn the Tories’ Housing Act that takes a wrecking ball to council housing.

 


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