Thatcher and the housing crisis
Sir, I wonder if the irony-meter in your office is not working or if the juxtaposition on the front page of this week’s issue (14 April) was deliberately thought-provoking.
The housing crisis which the churches are having to tackle is a direct result of Margaret Thatcher’s policy. Very few people objected to the sale of council houses to tenants who had rented them for years and made them home; but the ban on councils spending the money received from the sale on building any new housing for the next generation of homeless families was unbelievably short-sighted and indicative of “the iron lady’s” drive to foster individual greed while disregarding widespread genuine need.
It is not what people say but what they do that reveals their true aims and bears fruit, good or bad. Mrs Thatcher unloaded responsibility for helping those in distress onto their individual neighbours, but there is not much that a hard-working family who have managed to buy their council house home can do to help their neighbour who has been made redundant and faces eviction. On the larger scale, Christian people need to know that the taxes they pay are being used for the greater good of society - however that is defined.
I would not want to judge or even comment on another person’s faith, but I do feel that Mrs Thatcher often lost sight of Matthew 25:31ff about the sheep and the goats, feeding or not feeding the hungry, etc., and summed up in the Jesus’ words, “...as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”