I sometimes wonder whether Vic Barlow does his homework when preparing his commentary (‘Never underestimate public opinion’ Barlow’s Brew, March 3).

He makes the astonishing claim that “In the 1980s councils thought it a good idea to sell off their housing stock at massively reduced prices to free them from their liabilities.”

He is right about the discounting of prices but overlooks the fact that this policy was imposed by central Government in its quest to fulfil its promise to promote a property owning democracy. He doesn’t mention that the local authorities were not allowed to reinvest the proceeds of these sales in replacing and extending affordable rental provision that was not commercially driven.

Regrettably, this popular if misguided policy was continued by New Labour although the Blair Government did do much to raise the standards of social housing provision. The continuity of the Thatcher policy ensured the engineering of the scarcity of housing that both protected and inflated the “tax efficient” equity of those fortunate to be able to buy their homes.

Mr Barlow’s second error is to claim that “More often than not they (i.e. local councillors) blame central government for their lack of funds.” I refer readers to a report by the National Audit Office a year ago (February 13, 2019) which states unequivocally that local government funding has been cut by 50 per cent since 2010-11 while facing “strong demands and cost pressures and no reductions in statutory obligations.”

Paul Thomson, Mobberley