Housing

Finger on the pulse: New headline housing indicators for City of Knox using housing.id

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/11/2019 - 6:00am in

With our new online housing product housing.id almost 1 year old, we’ve had the chance to work with a number of councils to improve the tool to help them achieve their goals.

One of those is City of Knox, who are heavily invested in a monitoring approach to their community planning. As monitoring is one of the main benefits we designed housing.id for, we thought Knox would be a natural fit for a case study about how the tool is being applied in the real world.

To learn more about the work that the housing team do with councils, visit the housing team page.

Challenge

The City of Knox, in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs was looking for a set of housing indicators for their State of Knox report, a visual, data-driven summary to inform decision makers and community consultation leading into the creation of the city’s community plan.

Every 5 years, the City Research and Mapping team creates the State of Knox report by drawing together and analysing a set of headline indicators across the facets covering Social, Economic, Environmental and Cultural characteristics of the city.

Approaching the next report in 2020, the team realised they had a gap in their housing indicators, and were on the hunt for datasets which they could confidently use and rely on through future 5-year cycles of monitoring the city.

A gap in housing indicators

The big gaps for the team were:

  • Measuring housing affordability. Tracking private rentals and sales and what’s affordable by households on lower incomes.
  • Data about households in income bands prescribed in the Victorian Government’s Planning Scheme (very low, low and moderate households)

Solution

The solution for Knox was housing.id, .id’s new online housing monitor. Delivered as a website alongside the City of Knox’s other .id tools, it could provide an easy-to-use, visual set of housing indicators that quickly bring people up to speed on the housing story of the area.

Through 34 indicators over 4 easy to use ‘lenses’, the housing monitor has delivered the City of Knox the indicators they need to inform their State of Knox report now and into the future.

Browse the City of Knox housing monitor.

Private rental affordability
The housing monitor delivers more precise measures of affordability, calculated using up-to-date housing market prices against what is affordable by households on different income bands. Delivered as LGA and small area figures enables deeper, local level analysis of affordability.


Affordability of rental housing vs. what households can afford (left) and the number of rental listings in a 12-month period that were affordable by households in income bands (right)


Affordability of rental housing vs. what households can afford without going into rental stress

Housing stress by the income bands prescribed in the Victorian Government’s Planning Scheme (very low, low and moderate households), presented as LGA and small areas.


The spatial picture of rental stress in City of Knox, able to be filtered by income bands

Meeting Knox’s requirements

The housing monitor meets the City’s principles for their indicators:

  • Reliable source in another 5 years
  • See change over time
  • Benchmarked to the region
  • Small area data
  • Visual – easy for people to see the story quickly
  • Trustworthy – transparent and from trusted sources
  • Reduce the burden of data collection

Results

New housing indicators for the City

The City Research and Mapping team are now using the housing monitor to create their new set of indicators, and will be going out to the community with the State of Knox report in 2020.

Using housing.id, Darlene Swan, Acting Coordinator of City Research and Mapping, says that housing.id provides ‘very strong’ datasets for their new sets of indicators, and for ongoing work monitoring their housing story.

Reduced burden of data collection

Having a subscription to housing.id enables the City Research and Mapping team to confidently update their set of headline indicators without the added burdens of data collection. “We’re collecting data right across everything, it’s very useful to have a source that’s already done” says Swan.

“And the fact that it’s on a public website too is fantastic. The data is there for everyone to see and use. Our partners, our community.” The result, says Swan, is that the team can spend less time finding data and fulfilling small requests, and spend more time looking at the trends and identifying the issues that might need addressing in City of Knox.

Informing the city’s housing work

Housing.id has been a strategic investment for the City of Knox, as a part of a strong emphasis on housing – especially housing affordability – driven by the community. The housing monitor is already being used in other projects, including the city’s social and affordable housing strategy.

For Swan, investing in the tool has been crucial to having access to the right information that her team, the city and it’s partners need to make informed decisions about housing “I would recommend housing.id if you’re wanting to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening locally with housing.”

We look forward to following more of the innovative work happening over at City of Knox.

If you’re interested in hearing how our housing team could assist your council, book a web meeting to chat with us.

Short Guardian Video of Corbyn’s Election Promises

Labour launched its manifesto yesterday, as did the Tories, and the newspapers and TV were full of it. The Guardian, however, produced this little video in which Corbyn presents the party’s manifesto promises in just a minute and a half.

The Labour leader says

‘Labour’s manifesto is a manifesto for hope. That is what this document is. We will unleash a record investment blitz. And it will rebuild our schools, our hospitals, care homes and the housing we so desperately need. Every town, every city and every region. So a Labour government will ensure that big oil and gas corporations that profit from heating up our planet will shoulder the burden and pay their fair share through a just transition tax. We’ll get Brexit sorted within six months. We will secure a sensible deal that protects manufacturing and the Good Friday Agreement. And then put it to a public vote alongside the option of remaining in the EU. And yes, be clear, we will scrap university tuition fees.’ 

At this point there is massive cheering from his audience. He goes on

‘We are going to give you the very fastest, full fiber broadband for free. That is real change. And Labour will scrap Universal Credit.’

More cheering and applause. Corbyn’s speech ends with

‘It’s time for real change. Thank you!’

The crowd rises to give him a standing ovation.

Okay, so this is a very short, very edited version of Corbyn’s speech, just giving the briefest outline of the party’s policies. But it shows that Corbyn’s policies offer real change after forty years of Thatcherism, which has decimated our schools, NHS and public services and destroyed people’s health and lives through savage welfare cuts intended to punish the poor so that the rich could profit. All of which was also carried out by the smarmy face of Blair’s New Labour, who tried presenting themselves as some kind of caring alternative to the Tories, while taking over their odious policies and actually going further.

And as Corbyn says, this is a manifesto of hope. Zelo Street has written a post comparing it with the radical changes that set up the welfare state by Clement Attlee’s 1940s Labour government and their manifesto, Let Us Face the Future. The Sage of Crewe describes how Attlee’s reforms, which set up the post-war consensus, were destroyed by Thatcher, leaving nothing but poverty and run-down, struggling public services, including the NHS, so that the rich 1% can get even richer.

But he writes

Today, Labour brought something to the General Election campaign that recalled the message of 1945, and that something was hope. Hope that students of whatever age would not be saddled with tens of thousands of Pounds of debt for years after graduating. Hope that the punitive benefit sanctions régime would no longer target the sick and disabled. Hope that a living wage really would be enough to live on.

Hope that those out-of-towners without cars would not be effectively trapped in their homes at weekends and in the evening because of public transport cuts. Hope that the NHS would be able to cope without leaving emergency admissions on trolleys in corridors. Hope that someone would, at last, take the Climate Emergency seriously. Hope that the scourge of Universal Credit would at last be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Hope that the victims of press abuse would finally see the long-overdue completion of the Leveson Inquiry, so shamelessly ducked by the Tories in exchange for favourable coverage. Hope that bad housing, and bad landlords, would finally become a thing of the past. Hope that the Police and Fire services will be able to cope, giving security and peace of mind to everyone. Hope of an end to homelessness.

Hope that education will be resourced properly, that teachers will be supported in their work, that pupils will not have to ask parents or guardians to help pay for what should be classroom essentials. Hope of real action to challenge racism in all its forms. Hope for 1950s women that pension injustice will be acknowledged – and tackled. Hope that the divisions caused by the 2016 EU referendum can finally be healed.

He goes on to predict how the people, who have profited from the poverty and misery Thatcherism, and particularly the austerity imposed by the Tories and Lib Dems over the past 9-10 years, will fight to prevent these hopes being realised. He points out that

that alone tells you whose interest is served by the decade of decay that has ravaged so many towns and cities across the country.

And concludes

‘Labour has promised us hope. Let Us Face The Future Once More.’

https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2019/11/let-us-face-future-once-more.html

This is all precisely what we need, which is why the establishment will do everything they can to prevent ordinary people getting the government, a Labour government, that they deserve. Because, as the Galaxy’s dictator Servalan once said in the BBC SF series Blake’s 7, ‘Hope is very dangerous’.

 

 

Is your local housing market supplying for vulnerable households?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 18/11/2019 - 9:16am in

 "What happened to the narrative?" "The statistics kicked in!"

We’ve written a lot about housing stress recently, and understanding the numbers of households spending too much on their mortgage and rental payments. There are a number of drivers of housing stress, one of which is the price points of sales and rental listings being supplied by your local housing market. Understanding the pricing points in the private market is vital for understanding why housing affordability may be an issue in your area. In today’s blog, Georgia shares how you can quantify the affordable supply in your local area.

Interested in hearing how our housing team could assist your Council? Book a time to meet with our team here.

How do you know if your local housing market is providing affordable housing options for households on the lowest incomes? We’ve heard that this is a pain point for many Councils across Australia. Many want to have access to this sort of information to assist in their advocacy activities, and for negotiating with developers – showing that affordable supply is limited and asking for a contribution of affordable dwellings is a valid request.

Median house and unit prices, and median rents are potentially an answer to this question, but they don’t give you an idea of the number of listings at a given price point, and often the median housing costs are not affordable for lower-income households.

So what are the other options?

It’s not all bad news though – there is data available that you can add to your evidence base around the supply in the private housing market. We’ve recently been working with Hometrack (part of the REA Group) to develop a way to measure the quantity of affordable supply in a given area.

It starts with a few simple calculations. How much can the income group you’re interested in afford to spend on a house purchase? You can either do this yourself, or there are plenty of online mortgage calculators that can help. For example, if you look at Low-income households in Greater Sydney, as defined by Family and Community Services, they can comfortably afford a property purchase of $429,000. But how many sales were under this amount in the past year? Through partnering with Hometrack, .id are able to access the list of sales that occurred in your local area over the past 12 months, and quantify the number of sales under $429,000 for example.

So how did affordable sales supply look like in Greater Sydney in 2018? Not great is the simple answer. Fewer than one in five sales would have been affordable for a household with a moderate income.

Income bracket
Affordable purchase price
Affordable sales
% of total sales

Very low
$268,000
972
1.2%

Low
$429,000
3,019
3.8%

Moderate
$644,000
13,826
17.4%

Of course, there are local nuances in the supply of affordable sales, with some areas providing a higher supply than others. Areas in Greater Sydney with higher levels of affordable supply are generally the outer growth areas, such as Camden, Campbelltown and Penrith – however affordable supply for moderate-income households only raises to one in three sales.

What about renters?

I’m glad you asked! Renters are the most vulnerable group in the private housing market, especially those on lower incomes. Again, we’ve heard from numerous Councils that accessing data around rental supply is really difficult.

The good news is that the same analysis outlined above for sales is available for rental listings. Again it starts with calculating how much the income group you’re interested in can spend on rent per week. Looking at Greater Melbourne this time, and the income brackets outlined in the Planning and Environment Act, a low-income household could afford to spend $396 per week on rent. Again, through our partnership with Hometrack, we are able to access the rental listings that occurred in your local area over the past 12 months and quantify the number of rental listings that were under $396 per week.

Looking at affordable rental supply in Greater Melbourne in 2018, we can see that there are very few listings available for very low-income households. This puts significant financial pressure on these households, and also the social housing system.

Income bracket
Affordable weekly rent
Affordable rentals
% of total rental listings

Very low
$248
1,540
1.2%

Low
$396
56,032
42.5%

Moderate
$595
110,650
83.8%

Again there are local nuances in the supply of affordable rentals. The outer suburban areas again feature in the more affordable areas, however, areas such as Maribyrnong and Dandenong also feature, especially for supply affordable for very low-income households.

If you’d like to see how this data looks for a Local Government area, jump onto one of our housing.id sites, or if you’d like to get access to this data for your Council, book a time to chat with us here.

Considerations on Rent Control

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 15/11/2019 - 5:11am in

(On November 13, I was invited to testify before the Jersey City city council on rent control. Below is an edited version of my testimony.)

My name is J. W. Mason. I have a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, I am an assistant professor of economics at John Jay College of the City University of New York, and I am a Fellow at the Rosevelt Institute.

My goal today is to present some general observations on rent regulation from the perspective of an economist.

Among economists, rent regulation seems be in similar situation as the minimum wage was 20 years ago. At that time, most economists  took it for granted that raising the minimum wage would reduce employment. Textbooks said that it was simple supply and demand — if you raise the price of something, people will buy less of it. But as more state and local governments raised minimum wages, it turned out to be very hard to find any negative effect on employment. This was confirmed by more and more careful empirical studies. Today, it is clear that minimum wages do not reduce employment. And as economists have worked to understand why not, this has improved our theories of the labor market.

Rent regulation may be going through a similar evolution today. You may still see textbooks saying that as a price control, rent regulation will reduce the supply of housing. But as the share of Americans renting their homes has increased, more and more jurisdictions are considering or implementing rent regulation. This has brought new attention from economists, and as with the minimum wage, we are finding that the simple supply-and-demand story doesn’t capture what happens in the real world.

As of 2019, there are approximately 200 cities in the US with some type of rent regulation. Most of them are in three states — New York, New Jersey, and California. Other areas where rent control was once widespread, such as Massachusetts, have seen it eliminated by state law.

A number of recent studies have looked at the effects of rent regulations on housing supply, focusing on changes in rent regulations in New Jersey and California and the elimination of rent control in Massachusetts. Contrary to the predictions of the simple supply-and-demand model, none of these studies have found evidence that introducing or strengthening rent regulations reduces new housing construction, or that eliminating rent regulation increases construction. Most of these studies do, however, find that rent control is effective at holding down rents.

A 2007 study by David Sims and a 2014 study by Autor, Palmer, and Pathak both look at the effects of the end of rent control in Massachusetts, after the passage of Question 9 by Massachusetts ballot referendum in 1994. Sims found that the end of rent control had little effect on the construction of new housing. He did however find evidence that rent control decreased the number of available rental units, by encouraging condo conversions. In other words, rent control seemed to affect the quantity of rental housing, but not the total quantity of the housing stock. Unsurprisingly, Sims also found significant increases in rent charged after decontrol, suggesting that rent control was effective in limiting rent increases. Finally, he found that rent controlled units had much longer tenure times, supporting the idea that rent control promotes neighborhood stability. Autor and coauthors reached similar conclusions. They also found that eliminating rent control also raised rents in homes in the same area that were never subject to the controls, reinforcing the idea that rent control contributes to neighborhood stability.

A 2007 study by Gilderbloom and Ye of more recent rent control laws here in New Jersey finds evidence that rent controls actually increase the supply of rental housing, by incentivizing landlords to subdivide larger rental units.

A 2015 study by Ambrosius, Glderbloom and coauthors also looks at changes in New Jersey rent regulations. As with the previous study, they find that rent control in New Jersey has not produced any detectable reduction in new housing supply. However, they also find that many of these laws,  because of their relatively generous provisions, in particular vacancy decontrol, only limit rent increases on a relatively small number of housing units. 

The most recent major study of rent control, by Diamond McQuade, and Qian in 2018, uses detailed data on San Francisco housing market to look at the effect of the mid-1990s change in rent control rules there. They suggest that while the law did effectively limit rent increases, and had no effect on new housing construction, it did have a negative effect n the supply of rental housing by encouraging condo conversions. 

The main conclusions from this literature are, first, that rent regulation is effective in limiting rent increases, although how effective it is depends on the specifics of the law. Vacancy decontrol in particular may significantly weaken rent control. Second, there is no evidence that rent regulations reduce the overall supply of housing. They, may, however, reduce the supply of rental housing if it is easy for landlords to convert apartments to condominiums or other non-rental uses. This suggests that limitations on these kinds of conversions may be worth exploring. Third, in addition to their effect on the overall level of rents, rent regulations also play an important role in promoting neighborhood stability and protecting long-term tenants.

Let me now turn to the question of why the textbook story is wrong. There are several features of housing markets and of rent control that help explain why the simple supply-and-demand model is inapplicable.

First, these arguments misunderstand the goal of rent regulation. In part, it is to preserve the supply of affordable housing. But it also recognizes the legitimate interest of long-term tenants in remaining in their homes. A rented house or apartment is still a family’s home, which they have a reasonable expectation of remaining in on terms similar to those they have enjoyed in the past. Just as we have a legal principle that people cannot be arbitrarily deprived of their property, and just as many local governments put limits on how rapidly property taxes can increase, a goal of rent control is to give people similar protection from being forced out of their homes by rent increases. 

Second, and related to this, there is a social interest in income diversity and stable neighborhoods. In the absence of rent control or other measures to control housing costs, an area that sees rising productivity or improved amenities may see a sharp rise in rents and become affordable only for higher-income households. Besides the questions of equity this raises, there are economic costs here, as it becomes difficult for people holding lower paid jobs to live within commuting distance; an area that becomes more homogenous may also lose the social and cultural dynamism that caused the improvement in the first place. Similarly, the evidence seems clear that in the absence of rent regulation, turnover among tenants will be higher, leading to less stable communities and discouraging investment by renters in their neighborhoods. The absence of rent regulation may also create political obstacles to efforts to increase housing supply, attract new employers, or otherwise improve urban areas, since current residents correctly perceive that the result of any improvement may be higher rents and displacement. Rent regulation removes these conflicts between the social interest in thriving, high-wage cities and the interests of current residents. This makes it an important component of any broader urban development program.

Third, rent regulations in general affect only increases in rents. When a new property comes on the market, landlords can charge whatever the market will bear. And when they make major improvements, again, most existing rent regulations, including the current Jersey City law, allow them to recapture those costs via higher rents. So what rent control is limiting are the rent increases that are not the result of anything the landlord has done — the rent increases that result from the increased desirability of a particular area, or of a broader regional shortage of housing relative to demand. There is no reason that limiting these windfall gains should affect the supply of housing.

Fourth, in many high-cost areas, housing supply is relatively fixed. The reason that existing homes in many large cities cost multiple times more than the costs of construction, is that the ability to add new housing in these areas is very limited, by some mix of regulatory barriers like zoning, and physical or economic barriers. In economists’ terms, the supply of housing in these areas is inelastic  – it doesn’t respond very much to changes in price. This fact is widely recognized, but its implications for rent regulation are not. In a setting where the supply of new housing is already limited by other factors  – whether land-use policy or the capacity of existing infrastructure or sheer physical limits on construction –  rent regulation will have little or no additional effect on housing supply. Instead, it will simply reduce the monopoly profits enjoyed by owners of existing housing.

Fifth, housing is very long-lived. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average age of a tenant-occupied residential structure in the US is 42 years. In much of the northeast and in older cities, the average age will be greater. The fact that housing lasts this long has important implications. No one constructing new housing is thinking about returns that far out. Most business investment is expected to repay its costs in less than 10 years. Housing construction may have a longer payback period — as we know, much construction is financed with 30-year mortgages. But the rents 40 or more years in the future are simply not a factor in the construction of new housing.  This means that there is a great deal of space to regulate the rents on existing housing without affecting the decision to build or not build

The bottom line is that rents in the everyday sense are often also economic rents. When economists use the term rent, they mean a payment that someone receives from some economic activity because of an exclusive right over it, as opposed to contributing some productive resource. When a landlord gets an income because they are lucky enough to own land in an area where demand is growing and new supply is limited, or an income from an older building that has already fully paid back its construction costs, these are rents in the economic sense. They come from a kind of monopoly, not from contributing real resources to production of housing. And one thing that almost all economists agree on is that removing economic rents does not have costs in terms of reduced output or efficiency. 

Finally, I would like to offer a few design principles for rent regulation, based on my read of the literature.

First, rent control needs to be combined with other measures to create more affordable housing. The main goals of rent regulation are to protect renters’ legitimate interest in remaining in their homes; to advance the social interest in stable, mixed-income neighborhoods; and to curb the market power of landlords. Other measures, including subsidies and incentives, reforms to land-use rules, and public investment in social housing, are needed to increase the supply of affordable housing. These two approaches should be seen as complements.

Second, there are good reasons that most existing rent control focuses on rent increases rather than the absolute level of rents. Rent control structured this way allows new housing to claim the market rent, giving the developer a chance to recover the costs of construction. Rent increases many years after the building is finished are more likely to reflect changes in the value of the location, rather than the costs of production. From the point of view of allowing existing tenants to remain in their homes, it is also makes sense to focus on increases, rather than the absolute level of rents.

Third, since rent regulation is aimed at the monopoly rents claimed by landlords, it should allow for reasonable rent increases to reflect increased costs of maintaining a building. At the same time, there is a danger that landlords will engage in unneeded improvements if this allows them to raise rents more than they would otherwise be allowed to. A natural way to balance this is to adjust the allowable rent increase each year based on some measure of average costs or a broader price index, as in the current Jersey City law.

Fourth, for rent control to be effective, tenants also need to be protected from the threat of eviction or other pressure from landlords. To give renters genuine security in their homes, they need an automatic right to renew their lease, unless the landlord can demonstrate nonpayment of rent or other good cause.

Fifth rent control is more likely to have perverse effects when the controls are incomplete. When rent regulations do reduce the supply of affordable rental housing, this is typically because they have loopholes allowing landlords to escape the regulations. In particular, vacancy decontrol or allowing larger rent increases on vacancy significantly reduces the impact of rent control and may encourage landlords to push out existing tenants. There is also some evidence that landlords seek to avoid rent regulation by converting rental units into units for sale. To avoid these kinds of unintended consequences, rent regulations should be as comprehensive as possible, and options to remove units from the regulated market need to be closed off wherever possible. 

Thank you.

David Rosenberg’s Refutation of Latest Corbyn Anti-Semitism Smears

As I said a few days ago, the Tories must be desperate. They and their allies in the press have fallen back to the old smears of anti-Semitism against Jeremy Corbyn. A Reform Rabbi, Jonathan Romain, wrote an article in last Friday’s Times warning its readers not to vote for Labour, because he was afraid of the terrible consequences of a Corbyn-led government for Britain’s Jews. And Stephen Pollard, the non-Jewish, goysplaining editor of the Jewish Chronicle, has written an article aimed squarely at gentile Brits, urging us not to vote for Corbyn because ditto.

David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist Group has written another excellent reply to the latest round of smears. Rosenberg himself has been the subject of smear attacks and protests by ultra-rightwing Zionists. A few days ago Jonathan Hoffman, a former leader of the Zionist Federation, was doing his usual schtick of marching around screaming about anti-Semitism in protest at a talk Mr Rosenberg was given to the East London Humanists. Whom he also accused of anti-Semitism, because they’re militant atheists and are anti-Judaism. Well yes, they are. They are also anti-Christianity, anti-Islam, anti-Hinduism, and anti-religion generally. That does not mean that they stand for the persecution of Jews, or Christians, Muslims, Hindus or anyone else. As for Rosenberg being an anti-Semite himself, his piece, ‘Who’s Afraid of Jeremy Corbyn’, begins with him describing a journey he made as part of a group of sixty people on a four day educational visit to Poland. It was organised by Unite Against Racism and many of the people on it were trade unionists and members of the Labour party. They also ranged from sixth former to older people, including Holocaust survivors, some of whose terrible experiences he briefly describes. Rosenberg was a speaker at the event, but before he did, they were treated to a message by Jeremy Corbyn. It was not electioneering, but a private message, meant for the travelers alone. Rosenberg writes

But just before I spoke, we watched a video message that had been filmed in one of theScreen Shot 2019-11-06 at 17.22.31 busiest weeks of Jeremy Corbyn’s year. The election had only just been called but he found time to record a message to wish our group well on our visit. This was not electioneering. This was not a social media post to be broadcast by Labour’s Press Team for sharing far and wide. It was simply a private, personal, heartfelt message to our group, from someone who has spent their life confronting racism and fascism and posing an alternative to hatred.

“Your visit to Auschwitz,” Corbyn told us, “will be a poignant experience. I have been there myself.” He described antisemitism as an “evil cult that has to be destroyed in all forms.” He recalled a visit he made, in summer this year, “to a small Jewish museum in Romania next to a railway line, where hundreds of thousands of Jews were rounded up in 1944 and deported to their deaths.” He closed by calling on us to “unite as people to say we will not tolerate racism in any form in our society, be it antisemitism, be it Islamophobia, be it homophobia or any other kind of discrimination.”

Rosenberg goes on to criticise Romain’s article, which was part of the media’s general evidence-free argument against the Labour party. He also discusses how the Tories have been responsible for deliberately racist policies such as the Hostile Environment policy, and are now led by Boris Johnson and his vile remarks about ‘grinning picaninnies’ and women in hijabs. He also reminds voters thinking of switching from Labour to the Fib Dems because of the smears of racism just how racist the Lib Dems themselves are. They not only supported Tory austerity policies, which disproportionately affect ethnic minorities, they also supported the Hostile Environment. And they did some extremely racist campaigning themselves in Tower Hamlets. He writes

Some of us with longer memories might recall the role of the Liberal Democrats in Tower Hamlets in the early 1990s where Lib Dem leaflets linked the presence of Black and Asian people with the housing shortages, giving further credibility to the overtly racist BNP who were polling well. Other leaflets distributed by the Lib Dems accused Labour of diverting funds towards the area’s Asian communities. In the end the BNP won that seat, and the Lib Dems locally were widely seen as playing a despicable and racist role.

He also attacks the Torygraph article which quotes Conservative chairman James Cleverly that British Jews are preparing to flee Britain if Corbyn gets in. He notes that three years into Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party, fewer Jews than ever are actually leaving for Israel. But he also notes the anti-Semitic undertones of the Torygraph and Jewish Chronicle’s article. Both stereotype Jews as rich capitalists. He writes

But the more serious point contained in this suggestion is the not-so-subtle antisemtism of both the Telegraph and Cleverly.

In essence they argue that a Corbyn government will launch a vengeful attack on wealth. Those most committed to private enterprise fear being squeezed by a radical Labour government, and the suggestion seems to be that the Jewish community, often stereotyped as an overwhelmingly rich, business-orientated community, will especially feel that pinch. It is an argument that has been rehearsed by the very right wing Jewish Chronicle editor, Stephen Pollard, who gave space in December 2018 for an appalling article in his paper by Alex Brummer with a headline you might have expected to see in a fascist journal: “The thought of Jeremy Corbyn as PM has Jewish investors running for the hills”.

Three months earlier, Pollard himself, had attacked a tweet by Jeremy Corbyn in which Corbyn said that the people who caused the financial crash of 2008 “call me a threat. They’re right. Labour is a threat to a damaging and failed system rigged for the few.” Pollard tweeted: “This is ‘nudge, nudge, you know who I’m talking about don’t you? And yes I do. It’s appalling” In response I tweeted: “Stephen Pollard and Jeremy Corbyn. One of them seems to think all bankers are Jews. Clue: it is not Jeremy Corbyn.”

But when I read this drivel, stereotyping the Jewish community as capitalists, I think of the many Jews I know well who work in the health service and caring professions who will be boosted by the prospect of a Labour government that is committed to funding their sectors rather than selling them off. I think of the struggling Jewish single parents and pensioners I know, and unemployed Jews, who have every reason to welcome a Corbyn-led government that would boost welfare payments rather than cut them, and would undertake other serious anti-poverty measures. I think of Jews I know who are users of mental health services, whose provision has been cut to the bone by the Tories. I think of elderly Jewish acquaintances living in the East End for whom repairs to their council housing and a well resourced health service are very high on their agendas. These people need a Labour government to be returned on December 12th as much as as their non-Jewish counterparts.

Absolutely. I’ve met Jews, who’ve despised the Tories for what they’ve done to the Health Service because they’ve, or their parents, have worked in it.

He also gives more news that you won’t find in the lamestream media. Apparently here are two new initiatives by British Jewish young people to tackle the Tories. One is Vashti Media, which states that it is a ‘microphone for the Jewish Left’, and another is ‘Jews Against Boris’.

He also discusses a talk the group were given by a Polish socialist and anti-fascist, who talked about the current political situation in his country and the mobilisation of anti-Fascists to combat the recent nationalist marches through Warsaw. His article concludes by commenting on the way the Fascist and Nationalist right in Poland and eastern Europe are being supported by right-wing forces across the continent, including Britain’s Tories.

As we sat in a cab driving to the airport on Monday, we passed a wall graffitied with a crossed out Star of David in a circle. The populist right and far right in Poland, and other countries central and eastern Europe, have been drawing support from right wingers in Western Europe including Britain’s Tory Party. Those elements in Britain that are leading the false charge against Jeremy Corbyn, as if he were some sort of threat to Jews in Britain, need to stop playing dangerous factional political games and face up to where the threats are really coming from.

https://rebellion602.wordpress.com/2019/11/06/whos-afraid-of-jeremy-corbyn/

As Rosenberg and other, genuine anti-Fascist activists both Jewish and gentile have made clear, Jeremy Corbyn is not an anti-Semite. Since he’s been leader of the Labour party, the level of anti-Semitism has been at the lowest its ever been for years. Anti-Semitism, like racism generally, is always strongest on the right. And that means the very same Tories, who are trying to smear Corbyn as a Jew-hater.

 

Ten things to know about the 2019-20 Alberta budget

I’ve just written a ‘top 10’ overview of the recent Alberta budget. Points raised in the post include the following:

-The budget lays out a four-year strategy of spending cuts, letting population growth and inflation do much of the heavy lifting.

-After one accounts for both population growth and inflation, annual provincial spending in Alberta by 2022 is projected to be 16.2% lower than it was last year.

-Alberta remains Canada’s lowest-taxed province. It also remains the only province without a provincial sales tax.

The full blog post can be read here.

Ten things to know about the 2019-20 Alberta budget

I’ve just written a ‘top 10’ overview of the recent Alberta budget. Points raised in the post include the following:

-The budget lays out a four-year strategy of spending cuts, letting population growth and inflation do much of the heavy lifting.

-After one accounts for both population growth and inflation, annual provincial spending in Alberta by 2022 is projected to be 16.2% lower than it was last year.

-Alberta remains Canada’s lowest-taxed province. It also remains the only province without a provincial sales tax.

The full blog post can be read here.

Ten things to know about poverty measurement in Canada

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/11/2019 - 9:27am in

I’ve written a blog post providing an overview of poverty measurement in Canada. Points raised in the post include the following:

-One’s choice of poverty measure has a major impact on whether poverty is seen to be increasing or decreasing over time.

-Canada’s federal government recently chose the make the Market Basket Measure (MBM) its official poverty measure.

-According to the MBM, Canada has seen a major decrease in poverty over the past decade.

-Also according to the MBM, there is very little seniors’ poverty in Canada.

-The debate about poverty measurement in Canada has largely ignored the concept of asset poverty.

The link to the blog post is here.

Ten things to know about poverty measurement in Canada

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/11/2019 - 9:27am in

I’ve written a blog post providing an overview of poverty measurement in Canada. Points raised in the post include the following:

-One’s choice of poverty measure has a major impact on whether poverty is seen to be increasing or decreasing over time.

-Canada’s federal government recently chose the make the Market Basket Measure (MBM) its official poverty measure.

-According to the MBM, Canada has seen a major decrease in poverty over the past decade.

-Also according to the MBM, there is very little seniors’ poverty in Canada.

-The debate about poverty measurement in Canada has largely ignored the concept of asset poverty.

The link to the blog post is here.

Growth areas: Growing up

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 31/10/2019 - 11:02am in

Tags 

Housing

Dwelling trends Australia density house size

Later this month I’ll be attending the National Growth Areas Alliance 2019 Congress, along with my fellow demographers Glenn and Nenad. In preparation, we’ve been looking at some interesting stories from growth areas across Australia. Today, I’m sharing one about housing in the growth areas, which might just challenge some of your perceptions about the type of housing that characterises these emerging communities.

If you haven’t already, grab your copy of the housing report starter guide, our free step-by-step guide and framework to help you prepare a simple report on housing supply, demand and affordability in your area.

When people think about the outer suburban growth areas of Australia, many think about housing estates with lots of separate houses and media coverage of urban sprawl.

These outer suburban growth areas play an important role in housing Australia’s growing population, and while there are some less than ideal consequences of urban sprawl, many of the growth area Councils recognise this and are trying to do their bit in containing the sprawl – the growth areas are growing up and filling in, not just growing out.

There has been a considerable increase in medium- and high-density dwellings in the growth areas over the past 15 years (in this context we’re defining medium- and high-density dwellings in the same way we do on profile.id, and the Growth areas we’re talking about are those identified by the National Growth Areas Alliance, which are also included on their profile.id site).

..one-in-five-new dwellings built in growth areas was either medium- or high-density

Within the growth areas of Australia, 15.4% of dwellings in 2016 were medium or high density, up from 11.7% in 2001. This means, that over the past 15 years, one-in-five-new dwellings built in growth areas was either medium- or high-density. While this is a little lower than the Australian average, with two in five new dwellings being medium or high density over the past 15 years, it still shows the growth areas bucking the perception of being purely separate house areas.

Which growth areas have the highest rates of higher-density dwellings?

Growth areas with high proportions of medium- and high-density housing include:

Local Government Area
% of medium and high-density dwellings

City of Palmerston (NT)
26.9%

Liverpool City Council (NSW)
25.5%

Campbelltown City Council (NSW)
22.4%

Blacktown City Council (NSW)
21.5%

City of Playford (SA)
20.2%

City of Cockburn (WA)
20.0%

City of Mandurah (WA)
19.3%

Penrith City Council (NSW)
19.2%

The Hills Shire (NSW)
17.9%

Moreton Bay Regional Council (QLD)
17.4%

So who lives in higher density housing in the growth areas?

Of all the medium- and high-density dwellings across Australia, those in growth areas are more likely to have families living in them.

Higher density housing in the growth areas is home to a wide range of household types. Despite the usual representation of lone persons, 19% of households living in higher density in the growth areas are couples without children, and a further 21% are couples with children. In fact, households living in medium- and high-density in the growth areas are more likely to be couples with children than for households living in higher density formats in other areas of Australia.

Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016

Households living in medium and high density in the growth areas have slightly lower incomes than the growth area’s average, $1,035 per week compared with $1,536. They also have slightly lower incomes than other households across Australia living in medium and high-density dwellings. This highlights the importance of higher density dwellings in these areas providing more affordable options for those on lower incomes.

I think this makes a great case for promoting dwelling diversity in all areas of our cities. If you’re interested in learning more about the dwelling diversity in your local area, and the impacts it could be having on your housing market, grab a copy of our Housing Report Starter Guide which will give you some pointers on finding the data you need to understand this story.

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