IN Monday’s column Shona Craven dared to suggest that “property” prices falling would be beneficial to those aspiring to join the “property ladder” and wondered if such a policy would be politically acceptable. In her concluding paragraph, she describes “the British preoccupation with the theoretical value of homes” as being “as illogical as it is destructive” and asks “will Labour have the guts to openly say reducing house prices would be beneficial?”

We live in a country where we are encouraged to believe that rising food or fuel prices etc are bad but rising “property” prices are good. TV shows encourage us to buy, improve, rent or sell “properties” as a good, beneficial activity. Owning multiple “properties” earning you rental income is encouraged and market conditions (shortages) are controlled largely by building companies to inflate prices. We are led to accept that rising values are a good thing. Shona rightly challenges this.

READ MORE: Shona Craven: Bringing down prices is the only true ‘help to buy’

Allowing a large section of our society to be 1) indebted by mortgages to the detriment of their living standards and being forced to cut back on eating or heating, 2) shut out of owning a home and vulnerable to the insecurity of the rental sector, or 3) cast onto the streets in destitution should be unacceptable in our society.

A house should be a home, not a property! The construction of good, warm housing of a range of sizes to meet all budgets in sufficient quantity to become much more affordable should be managed by a powerful regulated body. Communities where there is a mix of housing sizes should be encouraged to end our current social apartheid of different estates for rich and poor. Taxation should be used to discourage the buy-to-rent sector, making renting a non-profit activity. Everyone should have access to appropriate housing, whether for zero ownership at the lowest cost or ownership at a greater cost depending on deposit and length of mortgage at fixed rates. Capital gains tax should be levied on house sales, allowing for inflation and improvements.

These measures would reduce house prices and the amounts paid to lenders. This would free income to be spent elsewhere, benefiting our economy. I join Shona in challenging any party claiming to follow progressive policies to adopt these suggestions. They would have to give our society priority over business by ignoring their lobbying.

Campbell Anderson

IN the Website Comments section in Tuesday’s National, Alison Hall makes the extraordinary comment: “There is something parasitic about making a living from renting out property. Urgent need for intervention and regulation”. I wonder where she thinks people who can’t afford to buy a house are going to live if there is not the option of renting. A tent, perhaps?

As to regulation, the rental industry is heavily regulated, as I found when one of my tenants took to drink and declined to pay his rent. It took me six months to evict him, and with cleaning up the mess he left behind I lost a year’s rental income.

It seems that there is an open season on landlords at present as if we are all like Peter Rachman. Personally, I rent out a property at what my tenants consider a reasonable sum and I attend to any problems in short order. I’m certain I’m not alone in this, it just seems to me to be the right thing to do.

Perhaps Ms Hall might like to reconsider her sweeping generalisations before hitting “send”.

Tony Perridge

GERRY Hassan is right that all sections of Scottish societies should be holding its government to account (Safety-first politics is over..., Oct 24). That includes individual constituencies holding to accounts their MSPs who, in turn, should be holding the government to account on our behalf.

Of course, we can do this ourselves by writing letters to our MSPs or even to this newspaper. There have been many fine letters of criticism, to say nothing of the columns written by the likes of Gerry and the Wee Ginger Dug amongst others.

However, I see nothing within the vennels of Holyrood that leads me to believe its occupants read The National, let alone take note of its included sound advice from others.

Humza Yousaf now seems to be taking a lead from his predecessor and dictating democracy from the top through his intervention concerning the local tax freeze. Does he not trust our local representative councillors to act democratically on our behalf?

I did not vote for Humza Yousaf but I have accepted his leadership hoping for change. This has not been forthcoming as yet. My god, he is still going to ask Westminster for permission to hold a referendum, and this based on a dubious Scottish result in the coming UK election.

I will still vote for the SNP simply because I am an old-fashioned socialist, without any faith in any other Scottish political party being of the same ilk, but without any conviction of success.

And I am never convinced that copying Sunak, in a white shirt with the sleeves neatly folded up, is in any way pretending to represent the working class. We are more grown-up and a wee bit more intelligent these days, Humza!

Alan Magnus-Bennett