ONE of the oldest definitions of insanity is "to repeat the same actions and expect different results".

It was a phrase which came to mind when I listened to the Prime Minister announce a widening of the "right to buy" scheme in order to alleviate the current housing crisis.

He seems completely unaware that it was the introduction of this policy in the early Eighties which started the process which led to where we are today.

Two million council houses sold off, not replaced and 40 years later 60 per cent of them are owned by private landlords and rented out at double what councils charged, with many converted into HMOs. There is no shortage of property to buy.

What the country lacks are homes for families to rent at affordable prices with secure tenancies.

Councils built and maintained houses throughout the 20th century until 1983. Everything the Government of Mrs Thatcher was warned about came to pass 30 years later and now they are at it again. It will not ease the crisis one iota.

Joseph Rowntree insisted that rents in New Earswick should never exceed 20 per cent of a worker's take-home pay. Currently that would mean about £400 per month for a three-bedroom house. And only councils are equipped to build with that aim.

The "right to buy" is a meaningless distraction which will only exacerbate the problem.

David Lindsey,

Dodsworth Avenue,

Heworth, York

...HOW times have changed. The main criteria for getting a mortgage was (1) to be in full-time employment (2) to earn sufficient to be able to repay the loan, and  (3) it helped to have a proven record of savings with a potential deposit towards the property. 
Now there is a proposal to allow families on Universal Credit to count their benefits as income? 
We can only assume that being on Universal Credit counts as full time employment? 
Has anyone considered who will pay for the upkeep and maintenance of these properties when the council or landlords are removed from the picture?
D M Deamer, 
Penleys Grove Street, 


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