Homes will ease debt

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Another budget from Mr Osborne but will it really help the people in the next generation as quoted by him and more crucially will it do anything to address the ever increasing trade deficit and Government borrowing, a target which he has consistently failed to achieve?

He continues to attempt to reduce the welfare budget but has failed to identify and act on one of the main spends in this category. Housing benefit amounts to over £16million per annum and is the second largest spend, the largest being state pensions.

The provision of social housing is increasingly being provided by the private sector with market forces determining the cost of rentals with little consideration for the tenants in terms of security of tenancy and affordability. Is it not time for a major new house building project under public ownership outside the right to buy legislation, where level of rents would be controlled and income from the rents would go straight back into Government coffers. A rolling annual capital expenditure of £1billion should be sufficient to build about 6,000 homes per annum with the capital to build being diverted from the UK overseas budget of around £11billion. Local Authorities, employees, pensioners, the disabled and the poorest of our society have had to endure cuts to living standards while the oversea aid budget has increased year by year.

Mr Osborne keeps reminding us that if we fail to reduce the deficit then future generations will have to bear the burden. The savings that could be generated in housing benefits presently paid to private, foreign companies and landlords will make significant inroads into controlling the welfare budget without having any further impact on the poorer members of our society.

A building programme in the public sector would also generate more business and employment and provide affordable housing for people on lower incomes.

Norman Walker