02 August 2004 11:34

Back to the House

Apart from revolution, turning the clock back "x" years (to stop the original Cornish owners selling to incomers)and convincing the banks and financial institutions that they are actually charities what are your suggestion for the low cost housing issue? As an aside you might be interested to know that in the Saintly location a 3 bed, "pretty" Victorian terrace house can now set you back £300k+ The main reason being that the state schools are good and it is cheaper to buy a house in the catchment area than to pay private school fees. The housing situation has
pockets of fright everywhere. However, as I have kept a watch on property prices in Cornwall over the last few years it is very interesting to note how they have risen at all levels. There are now many more Cornish properties gracing the pages of Country Life than there were a few years back (subjective opinion though). Do you have housing trust's down there? They had a scheme in Milton Keynes where first time buyers could get on the ladder by buying a share of a new house the remainder being owned by a property trust or something similar. Not ideal but what is?
Benatugana - Tereba nessa - Winwaloe  

Vile Jelly

02 August 2004 13:48

Nowt wrong with violent revolution (unless you're Marie Antoinette and/or the cake industry).

The way the RT see it, affordable housing is an issue in a lot of areas (even your stockbroker belt) but the problem is particularly virulent down here because of the appallingly low income levels. I agree that £50k for a property is a bargain by a lot of places standards but the fact that it is still economically unviable down here puts the whole thing into perspective. What effectively seems to be the situation is that in order to get the bottom quarter of the population under a permanent roof down here you can forget 'cut-price' affordable homes, you'd basically have to almost give them away for nowt in order for them to be within the means of the targeted peeps.

I was saying in an e-mu to Helling t'other day that it now seems to be almost mandatory that you have to house people by making them property owners. I can't recall seeing anything of significance about new council houses being built. In fact, I'm not sure what goes on in your burg but down here, the councils have really clamped down on the 'right to buy' thing because they've realised they've just given away a huge chunk of their housing stock, making a relatively few long-term tenants very nicely off thank you, without making any meaningful impression on the housing crisis. There is one big private ass I'm aware of (Penwith Housing Association) but they aren't exactly busting a gut to expand their property portfolio. Yea verily, the last time I can remember PHA's name memorably cropping up in the press was when it was claimed that they were in cahoots with the Tate to evict the wrinklies from Meadow Flats. Hardly reassuring!

I think council and/or private association housing schemes are the only realistic way of dealing with the problem down here. Either that or do something to boost the income levels. As long as a huge chunk of the population are in non-contract, piece-work, minimum wage type jobs then the first (or any) rung of 'the property ladder' is always going to be beyond them.


02 August 2004 16:50

What would you say is the average wage for someone in West Penwith, under the age of 30 and who has not gone in to a family business or set up their own business? Is it mainly young singles and young couples that are finding it hard on the property ladder or does it apply across the whole spectrum. IS there an organisation helping young singles to form
co-operatives to buy a share in a home (quite good on a bull market).

Vile Jelly

03 August 2004 14:18

I'd say that the majority of them are £5 an hour or less or on less than £11k a year in the unlikely event they've actually got an employment contract. That would certainly tie in with the TUC report which reckoned that more than a quarter of the working population too home less than £250 a week gross. And that was on average for the whole of Cornwall. Penwith was the poorest of the Cornish districts so one would guess that means that considerably more than 25% are earning less than £250 pw down here. [Jelly's one of them and never has any munny, so if anyone would like to buy us a drink ..... The RT] And, of course, the beauty of paying someone an hourly wage is that you don't have to worry about annual salary reviews, keeping up with inflation, etc, so I can only see the proportion of povs increasing in the foreseeable future. Even if you could just about afford it would you take out a long-term commitment like a mortgage when you don't even know if your income will keep up with inflation in the next five years?

This is one of the reasons I have been arguing against the 'tourism brings money into Cornwall' fallacy. No doubt it does but the money doesn't go into the pockets of the vast majority of the indigenous workers. Most of the jobs created by tourism are the deadest of dead ends. It can't be healthy for any society to have a substantial chunk of its people in non-contract, low wage, no security, no prospects jobs. Hardly investing in the future is it? I do not understand why government and development agencies aren't pushing projects that create skilled jobs with prospects. Another Edam Project might look very well in the tourist brochures but is creating vacancies for a few more ticket-pushers, tour guides and ice cream vendors really investing in Cornwall? Yes, you can't get round the logistics problem so far as businesses that require constant physical communication are concerned but there are loads of other operations that are not location dependent. They moved the bulk of the Met Office to (the posh part of) Plymouth. Why couldn't they have moved it or something similar to Truro or Camborne?  I mean, would you really be that pissed off if Mrs W got a skool transfer down here and your whateveryouworkfor moved to Penzance?

I don't think there is any particular age group being done down. I know people through the age spectrum working in various jobs and they are all pretty poorly paid. People tend to harp on more about 'young peeps/families' because it is more of an attention grabber but I don't think they are any worse off than the rest. Someone twenty years older or younger than me would still be getting the same for doing my job. And all three of us wouldn't be able to afford a mortgage on a £50-60k property. Not aware of any revolutionary housing associations or schemes of that ilk down here. But, even if there were, I still go back to the jobs issue. If you've got a no prospects/no security job are you going to want to commit yourself to a 20/25/30 year mortgage? Would it even be responsible to encourage people in that economic position to do so?

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