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This is a spare 'blog in case my main 'blog at markwadsworth.blogspot.com isn't working
From The Sun:
TRAILER parks have traditionally been seen as home to the dirt-poor living on the poverty line in rundown American suburbs. In the UK, as families struggle in the recession, they are fast emerging as a cheap and cheerful alternative to bricks and mortar.
More than 200,000 Britons – among them the parents of Chelsea star John Terry – now call static caravans home. And experts reckon the numbers are rising every year as more people see trailers as a high-value, low-cost route on to the property ladder. There are now more than 1,000 residential parks nationwide – many so popular they have long waiting lists. They can provide modern, comfortable accommodation – and a sense of real community – at a fraction of the price of traditional homes.
Trailer expert Jon Boston, a consultant for British Holiday & Home Parks Association, said: “Residential parks have the atmosphere of a little village back in the 1950s where everyone knows everyone and you can leave your door unlocked. Most have beautiful surroundings in prime areas with a worry-free living environment. Prices, whether buying or renting, are much lower than in traditional housing. Often a park home costing, say, £50,000 will have similar housing outside the park gate for four or five times as much. Park homes are virtually maintenance free – no worrying about gutters, for example – and almost invariably fall into the lowest band for council tax.”
Trailer homes typically start at around £20,000 with most falling in the £30,000 to £80,000 range. An equivalent traditional house just 100 yards away might cost as much as £400,000 depending on the region…
OK, let’s call it;
– £35,000 all in per caravan, to include the caravan, roads, utilities, sewers etc.
– 1.6 million households on council house waiting list, most of them claiming Housing Benefit
– total Housing Benefit paid to private landlords £7 billion a year
Why don’t we just build enough caravan sites for 1.6 million households, that’s a one-off cost of £56 billion, so let’s borrow the money and pay it off over eight years using the £7 billion which would otherwise have gone into the pockets of private landlords?
We’d probably need far fewer than 1.6 million static caravans. There’d be fewer tenants competing for each privately owned home, and no subsidy setting a floor under rents, so rents would fall to a level where more people can afford it, they wouldn’t need social housing.