Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Social housing budget 'to be cut in half'.

David Cameron is to slash the social housing budget in England by 50% and to change - for the first time ever - the right of tenants to a house for life.

Ministers are expected to introduce a "flexible tenancy" for people who move into council housing for the first time.

Tenants will be checked over a period of time to see if they still require help with housing from their local authority, the BBC has learned.

In August, Prime Minister David Cameron suggested tenants in England should get fixed-term contracts and be encouraged to move into the private housing sector if their finances improve.

He said greater flexibility was required within the social housing system, allowing tenants to move to find work.

But Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes said his party was against the idea, which was not coalition policy.

Labour accused Mr Cameron of threatening the long-term stability people value from secure tenancy.

I would have thought that this might cause a huge rift between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats but I am so used to the Lib Dems lying on their backs and showing their bellies to the Tories that I suspect nothing will happen.

A party which enjoys huge support in university towns has already ripped up it's promise to abolish tuition fees and now plans to allow them to be doubled, despite the fact that most of them, including all five Lib Dems in the coalition cabinet, signed a pledge promising to oppose any rise in fees.

I feel sorry for the Lib Dems. They are basically decent people who Clegg has allowed to be turned into Cameron's cannon fodder.

They now appear to be backing Cameron's insistence that council tenants can be forced to rent in the private sector once their earnings reach a sufficient level. Forget how well you get on with your neighbours, forget any sense of community and belonging which someone might feel for the place where they live, Cameron will now insist that certain people move on simply because they can afford to.

And it won't surprise me that the Liberal Democrats, led by a man who is a conservative in all but name, will dutifully follow along behind. It's shameful to watch what Clegg is doing to that party.

And the public appear to be waking up to what is about to happen:

Most voters expect the poor and elderly to bear the brunt of David Cameron's savage cuts, an exclusive Sunday Mirror poll has shown.

Fifty-six per cent of those quizzed in our survey said the Government's welfare benefit cuts would hit the "poorest, elderly and most vulnerable" the hardest. Just 28 per cent disagreed.

Nearly half - 46 per cent - said Cameron understands the needs of the rich better than the concerns of ordinary people.

A similar number feared that the loss of hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs is too high a price to pay to slash Britain's deficit. Just 30 per cent of people asked agreed the job losses were a "price worth paying" against 47 per cent, who disagreed.

It seems that there is no policy too right wing for Clegg to insist to Cameron that he can't back it. What experience do any of these public school boys have when it comes to council housing?

None. None at all. And yet they are seeking to impose their values on a culture which they simply do not understand.

Click here for full article.

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