Monday, 08 February 2016

Party consulted housing figures over future of lifetime tenancies prior to the election

Tories exposed for mis-selling security

The Conservative Party held pre-election meetings with key housing figures about its plans to remove security of tenure from future social housing tenants.

This is despite the party publicly insisting that it had no plans to change tenancy arrangements for future or existing social tenants.

A senior housing source revealed that the Tories met organisations including the National Housing Federation and the Chartered Institute of Housing to discuss a number of issues including security of tenure.

The meetings took place in the run-up to May’s general election.

The source said: ‘There were discussions around security of tenure. They have since gone on the record about their plans for tenure.’

Michael Hall, co-ordinator of the Leeds Tenants’ Federation, said: ‘We feel a bit patronised that a government which claimed it would do away with the old order of things and bring in a new era of transparency has been saying one thing and doing another over something as fundamental as tenure.’

The prime minister stated last week that the government is looking at plans to issue time-limited tenancies.

Richard Capie, director of policy and practice at the CIH, said: ‘Before and during the general election CIH met housing spokespeople from across political parties to discuss the full range of housing issues that were being considered for inclusion in manifesto documents.’

Both the CIH and NHF have written to housing minister Grant Shapps since the election to call for a commission to be set up to examine reforms to social housing.

David Orr, chief executive of the NHF, said: ‘We talked about a wide range of issues with Grant Shapps before and after the election - tenure reform was one of those. Our position was and is that this is a sensitive issue on which any changes should be approached very carefully.’

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes said security of tenure would be a main topic at the party’s autumn conference. Its MPs have expressed strong opposition to moves to water down security of tenure before. In 2007, 37 Lib Dem MPs signed an early day motion opposing ‘proposals to means test or time-limit secure tenancies.’ Twenty-seven are still MPs.

The Conservatives declined to comment.

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