Wednesday, 11 March 2015

He doesn't do numbers or logic.

From The Times:

A mansion tax would lead to developers in London building fewer affordable homes, according to the deputy mayor of London.

Sir Edward Lister, who is also Boris Johnson’s chief of staff, said that if demand waned for expensive homes as a result of a mansion tax and developers reduced the number of luxury properties they built, there would also be fewer affordable ones because builders have to agree to construct a certain number of these in the same development to win planning permission.

For a start, the "affordable housing" requirement does not really reduce overall average rents, it's market segmentation that's all, but let's gloss over that.

Planning departments usually stipulate that a certain proportion of the total number of units in a development are sold for a smaller-than-usual profit margin to a Housing Association. The proportion is different in different areas, and can be any old number the planners pluck out of the air (unless they get too greedy and the developer just shelves the project - it is a very crude tool).

Agreed that the Mansion Tax would reduce the number of large, expensive units of housing in a new development, but by definition, it would increase the number of smaller, cheaper units.

So if the number of units goes up and the proportion allocated to "affordable housing" goes up, then the number of units of "affordable housing" would go up, not down.

Or the planning department could drop its required proportion and keep the number of units of "affordable housing" constant.



James Higham said...

If I were an accountant, I'd have constant migraines, Mark, getting the head around it all.

Random said...

Instead of "affordable homes" they should talk about "affordable land."

Random said...

A very very pissed off Homey :D
"Yet another attempt to bash the over 50's. I thought you lefties didn't agree with stereotypes?

The houses that you are all so envious of were paid for out of taxed income and often funded with loans at an interest rate of 15% and what are they now? 0.5% if you are lucky.

House prices were lower 30 years ago but so was the average wage. My first house cost 25 grand but I earned 6 grand, had to save for a year for a deposit to prove that I was financially trustworthy. I then paid VAT for every last bit of work that was done on any house I owned subsequently. I am now mortgage free after a lifetime of working, never voted tory and will have a very nasty surprise for any little class war twerp who thinks he can confiscate my property or try to see me off.

The reason for buy to let is entirely due to people voting for an incompetent, warmongering labour government who deliberately destroyed the private sector pensions of millions whilst protecting the public sector, refused to build new houses and allowed unlimited immigration just to rub our noses in it and exacerbate the shortage of houses.

Go and get a job, save for a mortgage and stop whining you horrible bunch of spoiled snot nosed little brats."
Anyway I will stop posting these now, but that rant was very funny.

Mark Wadsworth said...

JH, it's basic maths.

More units x X% = a bigger number than fewer units x X%. I do this for a living.

R, that would be fun but would give the game away.

Re your second comment, it's people like that who keep me motivated to get into government and slap them with a massive LVT bill.

Very, very few people over 50 had to work particularly hard to pay off their mortgage. I'm not even 50 and it was an absolute doddle. They have absolutely no clue.

Random said...

MW, any good argument against LVT is an argument against privately collected LVT (mortgage interest/rent.)

Random said...

This is another good idea where I have literally seen NO non-debunked argument against:
Range/score voting lots of detail on the site.

Mark Wadsworth said...

R: "any good argument against LVT is an argument against privately collected LVT (mortgage interest/rent.)"

Indeed. But.

i. the owner-occupiers insist that they do not receive or consume any rental value.

ii. you can reduce private £ rent collection via rent controls.

But then it is merely tenants enjoying the "freebie". Clearly, it is better for lots of people to get a small amount as of right than for a few people to get a lot, but it is still a kind of private rent collection (putting tenants on a par with owner-occupiers).

Mark Wadsworth said...

R, as to range voting, we did this in detail a few years ago. All in all and by and large, taking all arguments into account, the least worst kind of voting system is multi member constituencies.

It's tried and tested and works. Large parties prefer single member constituencies; middle sized parties prefer MMC's with three or four members; very small parties prefer MMC's with ten members, that's a separate topic.

Random said...

I wish Mandelson would shut up:
"A future Labour government would never “in a month of Sundays” raise the £1.2bn it hopes to generate from the mansion tax to be levied on properties worth more than £2m, Lord Mandelson has said."
Can't he at least wait until after the election.

Random said...

MW, they are not mutually exclusive:

Turnbull2000 said...

There was a letter in today's I paper you would have liked, Mark.

Mark Wadsworth said...

R, Mandy is totally corrupt.

Of course you could. £1.2 billion is a 5% hike in council tax or a few extra bands or whatever, it's less than half as much as the TV licence fee. It's barely a rounding error for a government that overspends by £100 billion a year.

Range voting sounds fine to me, but it still works best with MMCs. With range voting and single-member consituencies, you would still tend towards a two-party system i.e. the current LibLabConsensus.

Mark Wadsworth said...

TB, go on which one?

benj said...

Weighted First Past the Post ticks all the boxes for me.

Yes, you get super-MP's. But that's better IMO than the super-Parties we have now.

Mark Wadsworth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Wadsworth said...

BJ, WFPTF addresses the flaw in FPTP that different constituencies have different numbers of voters. Fair enough. But it is still FPTP and tends towards a two party system.

But you can merge neighbouring single member constituencies into MMCs with roughly the same number of voters in each MMC.

And by definition, the winning candidates in each MMC would probably have received a similar number of votes.

Between candidates and parties, it would tend to average out naturally, without the need for any clever maths.

Random said...

I was thinking more of the German model - one vote for party and one for MP.

benj said...


With respect, WFPTP isn't FPTP. It IS proportional representation.

If a party doesn't gain enough votes to win a constituency, they'd get a "wild card" MP with a weighted vote. (my system not Imperial Colleges).

Sorted. No more two party politics.

As I said, the only possible disadvantage is the "super-MP".

Working out the voting weight isn't clever maths. It's votes won divided by seats won. (plus one extra seat).

But this is marginal compared to the upsides, and easily the simplest and fairest method of electing representatives, in my opinion.

People like simple.

Mind you I'm probably biased, as I thought of this over 25 years ago. So, I'm bound to think it's brilliant.

Turnbull2000 said...

In the 40p I, not the Indy! Not online I'm afraid, but can paraphrase as...

'Fellow baby boomer John H (re Unaffordable Housing) says young people don't have to cope with 15% interest rates and have it lucky. If I recall, interest rates were very high in 1979, but inflation was 25%. My mortgage was reduced in value by nearly a quarter in a single year! We were lucky to have higher rates and higher inflation compared to now. where the mortgage is huge for many years.'

Bayard said...

"and easily the simplest and fairest method of electing representatives, in my opinion."

Hardly, the simplest system is what we have now, FPTP. MMC is no more complicated, it's still one cross in one box for one candidate. It also has the benefit of being tried and tested, as it was used until the early C20th, when the last two-member constituencies were removed.

benj said...

@ B

WFPTP isn't any more complicated for voters than FPTP. In fact it's even simpler because you only vote for the party you want to win. No more tactical voting. ie each vote cast carries the same weight. It's only the MP whose vote in the HoC that gets handicapped.

Bayard said...

BJ, from the link you gave:

"Some measures are introduced to deal with very small parties and Independents to allow them to be represented fairly as now without having a substantial national presence."

That sounds like more complicated than FPTP to me. You wouldn't get tactical voting in MMCs either, because no party would run more than one candidate and split the vote, therefore there would be no point in voting Labour instead of Lib Dem to keep the Tories out, because, under those circumstances, one of the successful candidates is bound to be a Tory anyway.

benj said...

@ Bayard

How many votes in the HoC would a party get under MMCs get if they polled say 3% nationally?

Mark Wadsworth said...

B: "because no party would run more than one candidate and split the vote"

Well… that's the interesting part, if it there were five seaets in an MMC and your party were polling +/- 50% of the overall vote, how many candidates would you enter?

Bayard said...

BJ, depends on how many MPs they succeeded in getting elected.

"how many candidates would you enter?"

IMHO, if the answer to that question is > 1, then you have too many seats in the MMC.