British politics

Open up the land and build a more prosperous future

WHAT makes a country rich? Reading British newspapers, the impression one could get is that ever-rising property prices contribute a great deal to our economic prosperity. House-price increases are usually reported as a good thing, but this is something that worries us a lot when they stagnate or even fall. But what do high house prices, and indeed high land prices, mean for the economy as a whole? [...]

Slippery slope

It is time to change our attitude to high land and house prices. What we should strive for is price stability at the very least. This would strengthen our economic competitiveness, and future generations of first-time buyers will thank us - if national politicians ever have the courage to stop feeding the craving of the middle class for exponentially increasing house prices. [...]

The Best Laid Plans – How planning prevents economic growth

In three previous publications the report's authors have shown that most of the problems with the housing market - low supply, high prices, overcrowding - can be attributed to the planning system. Evans and Hartwich conclude in The Best Laid Plans that the main objective of planning has been to limit the spatial extent of cities and that this artificial reduction of land supply has severe consequences for society, the environment and the economy. [...]

Vorsicht, Staatsmedizin! Was Ulla Schmidt von Englands Misere lernen kann

In Zeiten der Diskussionen um die Reform des deutschen Gesundheitswesens lohnt ein Blick nach Großbritannien. Dort kann man lernen, wie ein Gesundheitsdienst besser nicht organisiert werden sollte. Es heißt, um in London zu leben, müsse man entweder reich und berühmt oder doch zumindest verrückt sein. Man sollte allerdings auch gesund oder wenigstens privat krankenversichert sein, denn sonst bekommt man es früher oder später mit dem National Health Service (NHS), dem staatlichen Gesundheitsdienst, zu tun. [...]

A property-owning oligarchy?

The British seem to be fixated with house prices and follow the development of the property market like the weather report or the latest football results. Prices have been going up and up in the past, and if annual house price inflation occasionally drops to a mere five or six per cent, one can already hear commentators becoming fearful of a slump. [...]

Lehren aus Großbritannien: Warum die CDU eine Partei ohne Zukunft ist

David Camerons Wiederbelebung der Torys kann Angela Merkels Christdemokraten daher nur ihre eigene Orientierungs- und Haltlosigkeit vor Augen führen. Eine mit den Torys gut vergleichbare Partei gibt es in Deutschland nämlich schon, doch das ist nicht die CDU, sondern die FDP. Wenn sich daher eine deutsche Partei von Camerons Aufstieg ermutigt fühlen dürfte, so sind es die Freidemokraten. Aber sollte die FDP die Partei eines modernen, liberal-konservativen Bürgertums werden, wozu bräuchte es dann eigentlich noch die Christdemokraten? [...]

Planning for better and cheaper homes

Clearly, there is something rotten in the state of UK housing. The rest of the developed world enjoys living in modern, spacious and affordable accommodation. Meanwhile the British are living in houses in which single-glazing windows moving against each other can hardly be cleaned and hot and cold water runs from two separate taps – a caricature of British housing published recently in Germany’s leading quality daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. [...]

Local solutions for Britain’s bleak housing market

Britain is a rich, modern and dynamic country but its housing is among the oldest, pokiest and most expensive in the developed world. I am German and have lived in London for just over a year. When my friends and family visit, they are surprised at how sub-standard British houses look. That surprise turns into astonishment and shock when I tell them how much one has to pay for them. I am becoming increasingly irritated at being pitied all the time – and yes. I know I could afford something better in Germany. [...]

Unaffordable Housing – Fables and Myths

Britain’s Soviet-style planning system means that we live in some of the smallest, oldest and costliest homes in the developed world. But is this the housing we want? Unaffordable Housing is the first of a three-part series of pamphlets investigating the causes of, and solutions to, Britain’s housing shortage. Alan W. Evans and Oliver Marc Hartwich ask how Britain's housing has become the laughing stock of Western Europe. [...]