Ian Lewis (Letters, 19 April) asks what difference it makes to another if a person buys his council house instead of renting it for 30 years. I’m afraid this is a case of not seeing the wood for the trees; individual houses may not matter, but the collective housing stock does.
Some years back, I was in a furniture shop when a lady asked me if I knew a local delivery company. She lived in Edinburgh, but owned an ex-council house in Aberfeldy as a holiday home, furnished from this shop.
She had bought another ex-council house in Caithness for a second holiday home, but wanted to get her furniture from this shop again.
Thus were two potential family homes removed from the stock.
Perhaps Mr Lewis has missed it, but over the years I’ve seen many cases like this in The Scotsman and elsewhere. Rural ex-council housing ends up as holiday homes and local young people leave or end up living in caravans. Urban areas have also suffered from “second homes syndrome”, with thousands of homes being removed from the common pool. Again, the rich have gained at the expense of the poor.
The Tories sold off council houses because they thought it meant votes for them from new owners. Now they moan that ungrateful Scots bought their houses and still didn’t vote Tory.
It was calculated that, on average, five sold council houses raised money to build another.
This could have been ring-fenced and homelessness among working people all but wiped out by now.
Instead, they cut payments to councils which, with rising benefit requirements for the unemployed etc, spent it elsewhere. I hope that alerts you to the situation, Mr Lewis.
Thomas R Burgess
St Catherine’s Square