Thatcher and the hous­ing cri­sis

The Church of England - - CHURCH OF ENGLAND - Mary P Roe, Bices­ter

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.”

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