The London Evening Standard, reports that a controversial buy-to-let tycoon has defended his decision to ban zero-hours workers, single parents and “battered wives” from renting his properties. It explains that Fergus Wilson has also banned low-income workers, single adults and housing benefit recipients in his latest letting criteria.
Kent landlord Fergus Wilson defends rental ban on ‘battered wives, single parents and zero-hours workers’ | London Evening Standard
This is an important story with profound implications for modern Britain. On the one hand, the landlord is regarded as bigoted but he claims that he’s acting in his own economic interests.
It’s not my position to defend Fergus Wilson but his situation should be viewed in a wider context. Firstly, Wilson has published his rental criteria which are objective and open. But let’s consider applying for a loan, a credit card or a new job. Often in the latter case, there’s a rejection letter that is cold and impersonal, with no hint at what’s needed to be improved. In the case of banks and financial institutions, the judgement often hinges on a credit-scoring formula, rather than any sort of reflective view of the individual. It’s the same with jobs, with people being screened in or out by arbitrary criteria, like where he/she went to school, often arguing that with the right private education there’s a better social fit.
There’s a lot wrong in Theresa May‘s Britain, both economically and socially. If May wins the election, downside risks will prevail, crystallizing economic and social hardship. Landlords are being stigmatized by left-leaning media but they are offering a valuable service, when banks sits on their hands fine-tuning their credit scores, paying out fat bonuses to senior employees. And as for employment opportunities, have you ever tried to get a straight answer out of an HR professional? Indeed many so-called ‘HR professionals’ excel in the ‘black arts‘ and are by nature two-faced.
Private landlords in the UK have a bad name but legislation and pressure groups have improved matters for tenants in recent decades. The situation is much better than many foreign countries. For example, I once met a major private landlord, who boasted that he used to collect his rents in the Bronx, New York, accompanied by a bouncer, the landlord wearing a fully-licensed Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum Revolver strapped to his leg, on-show to his tenants.
The Conservative Party Manifesto 2017 is lacking detailed policy, cohesive strategy, costings and risk analysis. But most importantly, it does not give us a clue as to how May’s next government will address a collapsed economy and the resulting social and public order pressures.
Dr Alf is right,Fergus Wilson is symptomatic of a wider malaise in UK society which in the case of Wilson is down to a failure to build sufficient houses across a series of Governments of all political persuasions.
Under Tony Blair we had a drive to send as many people as possible to university including blockheads and intellectually challenged people totally unsuited to academic life.
This led to a shortage of builders,construction workers and skilled tradespeople and a desire by the indigenous population for a life of ease and indolence either on benefits or courtesy of a “Gordon Gekkolike” City based life of wheeling and dealing.
That shortage and all other shortages created by low UK worker productivity and laziness was filled by migrants in this case from Poland.
This led to a need for more houses and then as shortages happened in nursing,social work,care work,hotels,retail and catering even more people were needed but the banks that Dr Alf rightly pillories wanted a housing shortage because they wanted and still want house prices to remain high so as to pretty up their balance sheets with appreciating assets.
Council planning departments like rising house prices too because that means that they can charge more for planning applications and developers like rising house prices because each development becomes more profitable.
With tighter credit scoring fewer people can buy houses which means more people have to rent and more taxpayers have to subsidise those rents through Housing Benefits.
Since the politicians need the banks onside and engage in buy to let themselves whilst in office they see no need to fix anything but use people like Fergus Wilson and his wife(both former mathematics teachers),as useful scapegoats to deflect attention away from their own nefarious activities of expense fiddling,house flipping and acting as landlords.
We need to build upwards,downwards using systems building ,reclaim land from the sea and promote Adult Social Care provision in warmer climates such as Thailand and India as the German government has been doing for years.
The banks and insurers insist on convential construction because they know that with labour shortages in construction this will keep house prices rising and in the case of insurers it gives them bigger premium income albeit with proportionately increased claims exposure.
Mrs May does not talk about this but says she will reduce nett migration to the “tens of thousands” which will prove impossible because of the present labour shortages in key areas and because she is not prepared to unleash the full potential of automation , introduce compulsory workfare or fix the military recruitment crisis or export our way out of trouble.
Underperforming bosses need stern conversations and pay caps not sweet talking so that they give the Conservative Party money.
Those that export need to be encouraged to do more through the tax system and the public sector needs cutting down to size.
Without these measures and a beneficial BREXIT the problems that Dr Alf cites will get worse and we will become increasingly reliant on levitating on a sea of money from Arab potentates,organised criminals,drug barons,Russian oligarchs,expatriate Chinese billionaires,plutocrats and latter day “Wolves of Wall Street”