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Housing must be built to meet need, not greed

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If Martin Pawley understood the need for new housing, he would have different views of Mrs Thatcher's policies in the 1980s. Of course she built a lot of houses and increased people's equity, but this was at both ends of the market (AJ 31.5.01).

Comments made by him in 1983 endorsed the fact that householders on private mortgages also contributed vast sums to the economy through rises in house values.

Mrs Thatcher was shrewd enough to hold the house-owning electorate in her grasp for some years, but learnt the lesson, ultimately, that the non-houseowning class was just as powerful a force. 'She' built houses as 'he' creates headlines - for personal gain, notwithstanding the nature of the problems. Build more houses, catch more fish, sell more arms - the latter two probably have just as much justification, alas, as the former, but are flawed if just treated as headlines and lack analysis by politicians and journalists alike.

Stabilizing house prices is worthy but not as illuminating as Country Life, according to the journalist, who claims that the upper market is out of reach because agricultural land forbids house building.

The 'politically' and 'socially' correct way now would be to provide housing where it is best suited to fit a broader requirement, in urban areas where infrastructure, transport, jobs and public facilities are necessary. Inflation, house prices, colourful magazines, politicians and journalists only add to the complications.

Rex Hawkesworth, Portsmouth

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