the Editor:

I grew up in government housing, specifically housing built for the Ministry of Defense. It was well designed, solidly built and spacious set in a good amount of greenery. Looking to make a quick buck the Tory government sold all 55,000 houses off in1996, another public asset distributed to the private sector for way below market value. The National Audit Office now reckons the MoD lost up to £4.2 billion.

I bring this up in the context of housing and second homes in the Dales National Park for two reasons. Firstly, the housing “market” is not subject to the laws of supply and demand (if that were so there wouldn’t be a shortage of housing since demand is very high) but the object of manipulation, speculation and profiteering by developers, investors, and government policy. There has to be intervention by the state or councils in order to tackle the shortage (which keeps prices high) especially of affordable homes. Secondly, I am fortunate enough to live in the National Park and without lifting a finger have seen my property triple in value over the last two decades due to the over-heated and blatantly unfair housing market. Given the gross inequality built into the system, I believe the council tax on second homes should be increased. But why stop there? Why not extend the council tax valuation band beyond H (oddly still stuck at a 1993 evaluation of £320,000 and above)? Why not get a little more of the alphabet involved?

Let’s support community rather than property values; that is the only way to ensure a more equitable and sustainable future.

Bruce McLeod