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Margaret Thatcher sold off council houses to create more Tories, on the theory that home ownership made you a Conservative. But the end of council estates just meant that private landlords were able to gouge local governments for substandard housing for poor people.

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Predictably, this only worsened, with rents spiraling for poorly maintained, dangerous housing. Eventually, David Cameron got a genius idea: he'd cut how much money families could spend on private rent.

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After all, this was much more politically feasible than ordering landlords to provide decent housing at a fair price. Landlords make campaign contributions and vote Tory, and a majority of Tory MPs are landlords themselves.

thelondoneconomic.com/news/cor

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By contrast, council tenants vote Labour and are (by definition) too poor to bribe politicians. Just as with Thatcher's selloff, the outcome of Cameron's policy was totally predictable to anyone whose wealth didn't depend on their denying it.

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People couldn't pay their rent, so they became homeless.

You know what's more expensive than paying rent for poor people? Helping homeless people.

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The savings from Cameron's cruel policy of limiting rent subsidies were totally wiped out by the millions more that local governments had to pay to find temporary shelter for the wave of homelessness Cameron had created.

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That's not all, of course. Voter turnout among affected households plummeted, and when they did vote, it was in the Brexit referendum, where the housing benefit cuts strongly correlated with a Leave vote.

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"We also observe that a one standard deviation increase in the level of exposure to the cut in a district is associated with up to a 2.2 percentage point greater level of support for ‘Leave’."

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The inability of the British private sector to build affordable housing and the unwillingness of the public sector to fill in the gap has produced a ghastly quality of life.

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In Camden, £1500/month gets you a 27sqm "flat" whose bed is literally a mattress wedged next to the toilet.

cnn.com/2020/02/29/uk/london-r

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And yet, Greater London has never had a better ratio of bedrooms to people. It's just that HALF the beds in the region are empty on any given night.

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But with 60% of the UK national wealth represented by property in the southeast, the last thing the Tories want to do is fix this misallocation, which has been such a boon to the ownership class.

theguardian.com/books/2014/feb

/eof

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