Monday, August 09, 2010

Security of tenure means a right to a home

So David Cameron wants to attack council tenants rights to security of tenure. One minute they claim to want the state off peoples backs-the next they are saying that if your son or daughter leaves home, your partner dies or you get a promotion at work then some bureaucrat can decide to evict you from a home you might have lived in for 20 years.

It's possible to tackle under-occupation by working with people-building new one or two bedroom flats and houses in particular areas meaning people can downsize without moving to the other side of town. Let's be honest, the housing problems are caused by a lack of house building over recent years. Don't blame the tenants for politicians failures.

The other thing that really shocks me is just how ignorant most of the right wing commentators are about Council Housing. We hear about cheap subsidised housing being passed down in families-tosh!

1. Council housing isn't subsidised-housing revenue accounts are ring-fenced and have to pay their own way.

2. If rents are cheaper than the private sector it's because there is no private landlords profit to meet. Council flats in Salford which are bought and then let out typically have rents 50% greater than council flats- why is that a good thing?

3. Much of our stock is over 40 years old. Construction costs etc. have been met many times over, potentially allowing secure borrowing for new build.

4. A tenants spouse or civil partner has the right to suceed to a tenancy as might family members who have lived in the property for 12 months. This can only happen once and is designed to stop people being evicted on the death of their partner or parent. Why is that a bad thing?

Labour needs to defend security of tenure, stand up for council tenants and build more houses and flats-it's as simple as that!

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