Thursday, 15 December 2011

Ken's got to pick a pocket or two

So much to post on so little time.

With a smorgasbord of ‘delights’ available I decided to focus, for this post, on a fairly "local" matter but it perfectly illustrates the left’s thinking on personal property and the private contracts we enter into with each other voluntarily.

Dear old cuddly newt loving - amphibian type not republican politician type - ‘Red’ Ken Livingstone, for those of you who don’t know, Is an ex mayor of London England, not to be confused with the Lord Mayor of London of - No I have not been hanging round in dubious clubs – “puss in boots” fame, I am talking - as seen in Shreck.

Having been thrown out of office Ken wants to get back in to city hall out of the cold. Having brilliantly worked out that rents (property prices, transport and just about everything) are a bit high in London he had decided if he can offer tenants a discount paid for by someone else’s money they might vote for him, despite his record.

I am reminded here of Ben Franklin’s comment that “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”

Ken is proclaiming that “rents rose by 12% on average in the capital last year - with no sign of improvement in the quality of the housing provided.”

October’s official National RI rate is 5.0347% inflation. That figure is derived over the whole country, London is, as we noted, more expensive and this does not take into account of the disproportionate impact of some commodity rises, 12% is probably not unreasonable. Some London business rates (property tax) were up by 23% in 2011 for instance.

He is quoted as saying; “no one should pay more than a third of their income on rent” and in the London Evening Standard saying;“I would cap the rents. We want to have rent control.

He has also been quoted as having said he would "actually intervene" in the private sector rent controls?

So Given his prefernce he would definitely cap rents. So not just taking from all London’s council tax contributers, but specifically something extra directly from the pockets of private landlords.

He would presumably impose a maximum that a landlord could charge. I am not sure how that would dovetail with ensuring no tennent paid more than a third of their wages in rent I find it difficult to imagine landlords would be forced to rent expensive properties at knock off prices to pecunious tenants, but who knows.

Virtually any cap would involve the local government forcing landlords to let properties below the market level. In other words the state treating private property as it’s own, and possibly intervening/restraining in private commerce and contracts.

It is open to question how long any landlord who owned decent properties would actually be willing to rent them at all under those circumstances. They would shortly find it to their advantage to sell to private owners who could afford it, thus reducing rented stock and reinforcing the effect still further..

Instead of picking private landlords pockets it would be possible to achieve virtually the same aim by introducing some sort of housing tax rebate, based on earning bands or tax levels might be more equitable and less damaging, but far less ideologically pleasing to Ken.

Boris Johnson (the current Mayor) pay attention here - you could steal a march on Ken here, feel free to pinch this idea, gratis. Though if you need further advice I am available for weddings, bah mitzvahs and helping govern London J