Monday, 23 November 2009

A mansion tax is a good start

Should empty houses be given to the homeless? This was one of the questions on BBC1's The Big Question on Sunday. The point was that if a home is empty and people are homeless then there is a moral obligation to use it for the homeless. However there is also ownership. We all own things that we don't want others to have, not just houses. If we are lucky enough to have another house then what right does someone else have to live in it?

Houses are not just homes. They are a business if you are a landlord. They are an investment for others. There was one person who made a point of only creating squats from houses that were not used. He could tell if the house was being used by putting something against the door which would fall off if the door were opened. I am not sure of the point of this because I think ownership, not just use of a house is a fairly important point in a capitalist society. Why draw the line at an empty house. What about houses that are too big? If you don't use a room should it be given to someone who is homeless?

The organiser of the squats was due to gain ownership of many expensive houses because the genuine owners may have not been too genuine and were not willing to come forward to claim ownership. Just because there are some rogues who 'own' expensive houses does not mean that others can break in and claim it for themselves.

We do have an obligation to house people but we shouldn't do this by making the Robin Hoods millionaires. A mansion tax wouldn't be a bad start.

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