LETTER:Policy of sharing could solve housing crisis

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The Independent Online
THE Conservative government, again, is turning a real need into a business opportunity for its supporters and, again, in the process it is failing to deal with the real problem ("Divorce and single life bring back the new town", 4 February).

The need for appropriate accommodation for the growing numbers of smaller- sized households - mainly resulting from people living longer and from divorce - is not caused by an actual increase in the population. This means that, on average, the present stock of housing probably has very nearly enough accommodation. What we need is a vigorous policy of incentives for the subdivision and sharing of oversized houses.

What the Government seems to intend to give us is the usual "market" solution, initiated and unplanned by the large developers and house builders. They will want to build three-bedroom, detached and semi-detached, two- storey "executive" housing. What will be the effect of this? More well- off, mobile people will be tempted to flee the under-funded, mismanaged cities. More of our precious, dwindling, countryside will be lost. Society will move another notch down the path of social and political ghettos. And the final irony is that those in need, the poorest groups, the single- parent families, homeless fathers and the old, will be ignored.

John S L Edwards

Monmouth, Gwent

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