Speaking at a PM Direct meeting in Birmingham, David Cameron said:
“At the moment we have a system very much where, if you get a council house or an affordable house, it is yours forever and in some cases people actually hand them down to their children. And actually it ought to be about need. Your need has got greater … and yet there isn’t really the opportunity to move.”
“There is a question mark about whether, in future, should we be asking, actually, when you are given a council home, is it for a fixed period, because maybe in five or 10 years you will be doing a
different job and be better paid and you won’t need that home, you will be able to go into the private sector….
“So I think a more flexible system – that not everyone will support and will lead to quite a big argument… looking at a more flexible system, I think makes sense.”
In response to this The Times put on the headline of “Cameron signals end of Council houses for life.” The article then failed to mention that the changes would only apply to new tenancies
Also, Shadow Housing Minister John Healey says: “Before the election Labour warned the Tories had a secret plan to get rid of secure tenancies and they accused us of scaremongering. Less than three months later we have the truth.” But the fact is that Labour did tell lies, they did engage in scaremongering. They put out a leaflet saying a Tory Government would mean existing tenants “would have just two months to leave.”
Furthermore today, The Morning Star declares that “Slums are on the cards for millions in social housing” The article starts “Government proposals on social housing will mean the poorest suffer and create Victorian-style slums, unions and campaigners warned. ”
The reality is very different. What has been proposed would provide more affordable housing to people who need it. I personally know of a case where a council house tenant is a millionaire. He has very reasonable rent, has his windows and things replaced regularly and he also owns his own yacht. He is entitled to stay in his council house because it is ‘for life.’ Obviously his circumstances have improved enough for him not to need to pay rent on a council house. Somebody who does need one is on a long waiting list.
Also, unions and campaigners warning of the creation of Victorian-style slums is risible to the extreme. Let’s face it, some council estates in this country are akin to Victorian-style slums already. What would be good would be some Disraelian slum clearance that would involve supplying affordable housing that people want to live in instead of the ‘progressive’ monstrosities that went up in the 60’s. But we can’t because the last government spent all the money on rubbish and left us with a huge deficit that needs sorting out.