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Archive for October, 2015

House blocks

Recently it has begun to feel as if older people are to blame for anything successive governments have failed to solve, or have actively caused.

This includes underfunding of the NHS which, apparently, the elderly have caused by staying in hospital when they could be discharged, except that there is nowhere for them to go to receive care during convalescence. This has in turn been caused by the elderly failing to die and free up beds in said care homes. Nothing to do with chronic over management and underfunding of the NHS and the closure of many Council run care homes in the same cost cutting exercises which are decimating publuc library services.

The latest seems to be House Blocking by the elderly selfishly wanting to stay in their family homes where their friends and family can visit them, and any grandchildren, great nieces and nephews etc. can come and stay, because people have to work and can’t afford to be stay at home carers. As we know out of school care can be prohibitively expensive so many older relatives are helping out. Of course, many of these elderly people also expect to pass the family home on to their children or other family in time. There’s nothing new or suddenly selfish about that.

The “experts” say it is to free up homes for deserving families who can’t buy a home. Really? We are told home ownership has dropped because first time buyers can’t afford a mortgage or find a property. Property ownership hasn’t dropped though, it is more that there are now some individuals who own an awful lot of properties which they rent out to the first time buyers who couldn’t compete with these same professional property purchasers. Are these perhaps the real house blockers hoarding entry level housing for personal gain (I know, there are also a lot of good landlords, everybody has a right to make a living, they are providing a service etc. etc.). Forcing “the elderly” to leave their homes and memories won’t solve the problem, but diverting people’s frustration and anger at being unable to buy a home onto them is a good tactic to avoid facing the real issues around the housing “crisis”. Similar to the community libraries rhetoric stating that if you don’t volunteer to run your public library then you, not government, have responsibility for its closure,

The politicians always seem to want us to focus our discontent and anger inward on those who are easy targets instead of coming up with a viable, fair and fiscally sound solution. Literally divide and rule I guess.

(As an aside, I have prior as a House Blocker. When I was 29 and recently widowed a young man who worked with me told me that I had “no right” to a “nice home in the country” because I was single and childless whilst he was married with a child and lived in town. He was furious with me for having my home, and I can remember how hurtful that was and how guilty I felt. He must be elderly now, too. I wonder how he feels about the House Blocking commentary.)

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