Barrats proposal is, as is only to be expected, driven by profit and so they will aim at the high rent market where they can make the highest returns. However, the danger for all of us is that is signals the beginning of a shift by developers away from providing homes for individuals and towards providing profit centres for landlords.
Demand for private sector rented homes is being forced up by a lack of alternatives. It is not a reflection of desire or of decisions informed by sensible economics. There are three things holding back provision of housing that people want, can afford and which offers a secure homes - the failure of banks to lend to credit worthy households, the failure of government to compell landowners to sell land at reasonable rates and the increasingly irrational emnity towards municipal housing by government and policy makers.
This terrible news may well suggest that the landlord class has won the housing battle, condemning increasing numbers of people to a life time of insecurity, of ever higher rents and of having to treat their home not as a home but as someone else's property. People can afford to pay mortgages and they can afford to pay social rents; what they can't afford to do is pay someone elses mortgage plus their profit plus anything else the landlord can get away with. Britons buy their homes for good reasons - including a landlord-tenant relationship in law that gives rights to the former and little to the latter, an almost institutional or inherent memory of our peculiarly fuedal social system and our lack of decent pension provision for old age. All most owner occupiers are doing is trying to get some securioty for now andi nthe futre and to keep their day-to-day housing coists down. Two things that private renting can and will never offer to regular people in Britain.
Driving up the costs of accommodation, as private renting will do, will drive up inflation, reduce investment and expenditure on other more productive areas of the economy and be damaging to the wider economy. It will however be easy money for a few.
Barrat's approach, no doubt supported by all the usual commentators and pundits who for time immemorial have parroted the line that we need to reduce our obssession with owner occuaption, will concentrate more wealth in fewer hands and prevent working people fromever being able to relax or look forward to retirement. The insecurity of private renting will lead to incoherent communities, dislocated and unsettled families and children and a more firghtened and therefore compliant population. All of which I would not like to see but, as Fear and Loathing has alluded to, is no doubt welcomed with open arms by Putrid Pickles, Schnapps, Call-me-Dave, George 'tax-me-not' Osbourne, Ian Demento-Smith, Daffy Alexender and the Cabinet creep, little Cleggness.