Net loss of housing to wealthy incomers | Letters

Guardian readers respond to a range of stories on the UK housing crisis

The government should help families like the Earles by keeping rents affordable (Priced out: ‘We had to choose: eat dinner or stay warm’, 22 April). Instead it actively makes their situation worse. On Arran and in other desirable rural areas there is a housing crisis driven by wealthy professionals who want the perfect place to retire. Wealthy professionals can only be attracted to a location if broadband coverage is adequate. To ensure this, the government imposes a universal service obligation on broadband suppliers to subsidise fast connections in rural locations, financed by subscription income from broadband users nationally. The improved infrastructure clears the way for landlords to expel poorer tenants to make way for the influx of wealthy outsiders.
David Cooper
Newbury, Berkshire

• Your report Arran islanders seek help to ease housing crisis as number of holiday homes soars, 22 April) suggests that at a total of one quarter St Ives has the largest proportion of second and holiday homes in the country. Here in Southwold the figure has reached 60%. Now we are told the district council is considering letting as a holiday home one of the few precious remaining council houses that they have not already sold off.
Hugh Williamson
Southwold, Suffolk

• Re James Prestwich’s letter (20 April): the Attlee government made provision in the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 for building plots to be sold at their agricultural value and for the difference between that and their value as building land to be paid to the Treasury. The act didn’t make that compulsory, however, so it didn’t work very well. In any case, as soon as the Tories got back into power, they repealed it.
John Abbott
London

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