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Proposal to end "Council house for life" for new tenancies

Would it be politically acceptable to end the security of tenure for Council tenants? The moral case that help should go to those in greatest need is strong. But what of the politics? I think the crucial point is for the changes to apply to new tenancies.

Speaking at a PM Direct meeting in Birmingham yesterday (full video of which is below), asked by a woman about the overcrowded housing she was in, 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."

The Times splash on their front page: "Cameron signals end of Council houses for life." Nowhere do they mention that the changes would only apply to new tenancies. Yet this was a point stressed by Cameron. The Guardian also splash on the story and include this key point.

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 Labour did tell lies, they did engage in scaremongering. They out a leaflet saying a Tory Government would mean existing tenants "would have just two months to leave."


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