The report suggested that incentives such as an exemption
from stamp duty could encourage older people to move
Have you ever heard of the Intergenerational Foundation? I hadn’t until yesterday. And yet this obscure organisation was wheeled out on the Today programme on Radio 4 and given the prime slot reserved for the most important issue of the day.
The Intergenerational Foundation, which is described as a charity, believes older people should be encouraged to move into smaller homes as part of the solution to the ‘housing crisis’. It says that more than half of over-65s are in homes with two or more spare bedrooms, which could be pressed into greater use. In fact, it claims there are 25 million unused bedrooms in England.
How gloriously simple! Why has no one thought of it before? Don’t panic, though, if you are an elderly homeowner — at least, not yet. At any rate for the time being, the suggestion, given such sympathetic and extensive treatment by the BBC, is that the aged should be coaxed, not forced, into giving up their supposedly large houses.
Everyone knows that, very regrettably, young people are finding it difficult to enter the housing market. This is partly because first-time mortgages are difficult to obtain as a consequence of the credit crunch.
A more fundamental explanation is that fewer homes are being built than at any time since the Twenties. Only 105,000 were put up last year. Ordinary houses in London, the South-East and some other parts of the country are among the most expensive in the world.
There are simply not enough new homes. Meanwhile, there are more than 700,000 unoccupied houses in Britain that no one seems to be willing or able to do anything about.
One aggravating factor, which is scarcely ever mentioned in polite circles, is the high level of net immigration into this country. Last year, it amounted to 239,000. The population of the UK is expected to increase by nine million to 70 million by 2025, largely because of immigration.
These people will have to live somewhere. Think of it. In little more than a decade, our population will grow by the equivalent of 20 cities the size of Sheffield or Leeds, in large measure because the last government did not control the influx of immigrants.
Enter the Left-leaning Intergenerational Foundation with its sinister new proposals.