Tuesday, 16 September 2014

DWP concerned by tenure reform plans

The Department for Work and Pensions is unhappy about government plans to reform security of tenure and to cut housing benefit, a minister revealed last night.

Pensions minister Steve Webb, Liberal Democrat MP for Northavon, told a meeting on welfare reform at his party’s annual conference in Liverpool that scrapping lifetime tenancies for social tenants would not help people get back into work.

He also criticised Treasury plans announced in June’s emergency Budget to dock housing benefit by 10 per cent for those who have been receiving jobseeker’s allowance for more than a year.

He said: ‘[Removing security of tenure] would make the problem worse. I would be very concerned if they did that.’

In response to a question about the fairness of cuts to housing benefit for the long-term unemployed, Mr Webb said: ‘Your point is well understood: that is not the best bit of housing reform.’

Mr Webb told the meeting that reforms to welfare announced by secretary of state for work and pensions Iain Duncan Smith would make work pay for people who could only work part-time, either because they had child care responsibilities or were recovering from an illness.

Earlier this week housing minister Grant Shapps told a fringe event at the conference the government plans to allow social landlords to offer fixed-term tenancies instead of the lifetime agreements currently used.

Keep up with all our latest coverage of the Liberal Democrat conference through our blog or on twitter

Readers' comments (4)

  • Sidney Webb

    Well done Mr Webb - we will wait with baited breath to see which way you vote on the proposals by your government.

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  • People should have security of housing providing they do nothing wrong, but that is not the same as having lifetime security of tenure of a particular property regardless of one's need for it.

    Social housing is a benefit just like any other. It should come with a proviso - if you no longer need it you either have to pay the going market rate to stay there or you have to accept being moved to a more appropriate property.

    The idea that a subsidised house should be yours for life regardless of your ongoing need for it seems ridiculous to me, even though to those in that position it is something they would clearly not want to give up.

    I know, I have been there myself, but I managed to earn my own security of tenure by working hard all my life and buying my own property. That took many years of sacrifice and commitment. I despair when seeing how some social housing tenants seem to believe that they deserve to have a subsidised house provided for them by the rest of society regardless of what they do with their lives and how they squander the rest of their income.

    I used to live on an estate where one of the council tenants had a £30,000 mobile home permanently parked in the front garden. The 3-bed house with a large garden opposite was occupied by a single mum who clearly needed the bedrooms to entertain the significant number of boyfriends who called at all hours of the day and night. The garden was a wasteland.

    Such misuse of social housing needs to be resolved before more public money is poured into it.

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  • McMadman

    How many times ? TAX THE BANKERS AND ILLITERATE POLITICIANS who got us in this mess in the first place. STOP ATTACKING THE POOR AND THE PUBLIC SECTOR.

    Not forgetting, vote Liberal, get Tory. They have plenty of previous and will jump into bed with anyone to gain power. They did a deal in Scotland with Labour to go into government for 8 years, and are now doing the same with the Tories. They really cannot be trusted, and no one can be surprised that a number of their more left leaning members are already starting to chip the first bits out of the wall - how long before the whole sorry edifice comes crashing down ?

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  • Melvin Bone

    'Not forgetting, vote Liberal, get Tory.'

    Vote Liberal, be totally surprised when you get a sniff of power morelike..

    The only party you can REALLY trust are the Monster Raving Loony Party.

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