Housing, in particular 'public housing', has always been high on the list of priorities of any government. The way that this and previous administrations have dealt with this issue has always given rise to controversy; restrictions on spending by local authorities following privatisation have led to a scarcity in public housing. Now there is a rush to build hundreds of thousands of new houses in and around the south east of England. Virgin green belt land is being earmarked to build these new houses which this government claims are necessary to solve the housing shortage.
Do we really have a housing shortage; are there not enough houses to accommodate the people of this country? Or are we seeing this governments 'long term' strategy for accommodating the thousands, possibly millions of foreigners who are planning to move to the UK over the next few years? How will this impact on local communities? What effect will it have on those who have been on a housing list for many years to see these 'newcomers' being pushed to the front of the queue? It can only cause resentment and hostility towards not only those who introduced such a short sighted and divisive policy, but also to the people who have benefited from it.
The Environmental Agency has also raised concerns about some of the developments situated in and around the Thames estuary. These developments will not only be prone to flooding but will use up land which has been used as a flood plain for hundreds of years protecting the surrounding area. Other concerns such as water and waste seem to have been ignored in the rush to build all these new houses. We have suffered water shortages and hose pipe bans during dry summer months, and severe flooding in the wet winter months. This government has done nothing to address the problem of water shortage in this country except to force water meters on unwilling householders, generating even more profit for the water companies. So, having been unable to solve the existing problems, what plans do they have for the future?