Speaking at his fourth PM direct meeting in the Institute of Engineering and Technology in Birmingham, David Cameron signalled the end to council residents’ right to tenure for life.
At present once in a council house tenant can generally stay for life and has the right to pass the house on to children, however large the house and however small the family. As a result many people find themselves unable to upgrade as their families get bigger because homes are just not available.
Future residents would be offered five or ten year council house tenancies and have to move if their circumstances meant they only needed a smaller place to live.
But there will also be more flexibility so you can move houses as you change jobs for example. But if your income grows to a point at which you should be in the private sector then you could be forced out to make way for a less well off or larger family.
This proposal will of course divide (and conquer?) the poorer people between those that aspire to a council house and those that have ‘secured’ one.
But the whole policy misses the point. If there were enough houses built and then sold for a price that a young family can afford then the whole problem goes away.
It seems we are still trying to not build houses and keep the prices artificially high to stop the economy collapsing.
What we really need to be doing is building houses. Ignore the NIMBYs and build. And I don’t mean endless blocks of buy to let developer flats or huge estates of six bed-roomed monstrosities aimed at the wealthy. No, normal homes built and sold to make an honest living. Keep those one shot developers who are looking for a fast buck away.
According to population reports there are going to be 70-80 million people in the UK by 2050. That will happen gradually so we must anticipate it. Without a home building programme the next economic boom (which is a certainty at some stage) will result in a house price bubble of epic proportions as demand outstrips supply and greedy people once again see quick profit in bricks and mortar. It’s happened before and it will happen again, whatever politicians tell you.