Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The moral high ground

I wrote about the morality of owning two houses last week. If we have empty houses and people living on the streets then there should be some social pressure for us to house them. I know that some people will argue that homeless people want to be homeless and there is plenty of support for them. If they find one or two people who have chosen this way of life then anecdotally they are correct. It is freezing on the streets of Morecambe today so my anecdote is that I would not chose to be homeless and however good your net, some people get through.

There is also a moral question surrounding the ownership of large houses. If you live on your own and have six bedrooms then what do you do with them? Well you might have a really good reason to have so many rooms but when you get to the fifth empty bedroom then you are starting to lose the moral high ground. I can hear people reading this blog who are now saying "but I don't want to share my house however many spare bedrooms I have in my house". I don't want to advocate house sharing but there is still a question about ownership of large houses with rooms doing nothing when others are homeless. In Morecambe we know a thing or two about large boarding houses that are converted to flats.

House sharing may not be the answer for many but a mansion tax could help people think again about owning large houses. The Liberal Democrats were in the news yesterday because they were rethinking this tax. I thought that this was a good idea so I was surprised, only to find that in the next sentence the threshold was rising from one to two million pounds. OK the moral argument is stronger if your house is more expensive. I know the main reason for the tax is to improve the coffers but it does also play some part in the moral argument for housing the homeless.

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