Greenhalgh hits back at Labour critics
The leader of Hammersmith & Fulham council has hit back at critics of his housing policy.
At the Labour Party conference last week, ministers cited the Tory-run borough as an example of the damage that a Conservative government would do to social housing.
But Stephen Greenhalgh has responded by claiming his controversial ideas on reducing security of tenure are designed to meet housing need and improve mobility in and out of social housing.
Writing on the Conservative Party website, he also claims that housing bodies including Nottinghill Housing Group, Places for People, and the Chartered Institute of Housing are increasingly ‘thinking outside the box in identifying the need for flexible tenure offers and in linking housing with work offers’.
At the Labour conference, communities secretary John Denham said Mr Greenhalgh had moaned that social tenants were ‘hard to get rid of’. And housing minister John Healey accused the Tories of working with Hammersmith & Fulham to formulate ‘secret plans’ to drive up social rents, weaken security of tenure, and boost the private rented sector.
Mr Greenhalgh says Hammersmith & Fulham’s housing strategy is based on ‘empowering individuals and families to help themselves and take up the opportunities that are and will be developed’.
He adds: ‘These are ambitious plans that in some aspect are still in development as they do not fit neatly with the fixed housing policy and tenure thinking of many housing professionals and politicians.’
Last April, right-wing think tank Localis published a paper co-written by Mr Greenhalgh, which suggested security of tenure should be scrapped, and councils should only have a duty to house people deemed incapable of obtaining their own home.
It also suggested giving councils and housing associations almost total freedom to sell, let and redevelop housing stock.