Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Tesco homes.

Tesco is to build 250 'affordable' flats in South London. A certain proportion will be reserved for Tesco's own employees, and later whenever the flats are subsequently sold, they will first be advertised to Tesco workers.

There is a housing crisis in the UK, particularly in London and the South East. Ever since Thatcher came up with the idea of a 'property owning democracy' and got councils to sell off their housing stock, ambitions have been raised that cannot be fulfilled. House prices have risen at a rate that have far out stripped earnings. And councils have stopped building new houses - the 'notorious' Militant Liverpool City Council were the last to do so. Many low paid and not so low paid people under 35 are faced with either living at home or paying ridiculous amounts to landlords in the largely unregulated private rental sector.

So is this philanthropy* on Tesco's part ?

*(That's a Victorian concept by the way the modern management-speak bollocks would call it "investing in the ethical capital of the brand.")


Tesco are not in the philanthropy business. You don't get to have 34% of the grocery market with a charitable outlook. When you can buy a pair of jeans for under £5 there is a reason - Tesco's squeeze their suppliers dry. Whether they are a Welsh hill farmer or a textile firm in India, somebody is suffering to ensure that "every little counts". If you want to know more check out - good luck though because from time to time Tesco try to take the site down.

The truth is that cleverly anticipating the out of town superstore concept, Tesco brought up a lot of land which because of its increasingly monopolistic position it will be prevented from using for more stores, so it is looking for other ways to develop. And of course to have their employees living in company housing gives them even more leverage over their already poorly paid and badly treated staff.

The concept of 'tied-houses' is yet another way that we are truly turning the clock back over century. And for every enlightened owner like Robert Owen who built model towns for his workers, there were twenty others who built slum houses from which workers were evicted if they got at all uppity.

No comments: