Sunday, 01 March 2015

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.

Readers' comments (41)

  • michael barratt

    I cannot see how the Lib Cons have an electoral mandate to attack the secure tenancies of council tenants. Cameron has shown himself to be disingenuous on the subject. As the Lib MP Simon Hughes observed when interviewed by the Guardian:

    "We have to be clear, it is not a Liberal Democrat policy, it is not a coalition policy, it was not in the election manifesto of either party, it was not in the coalition agreement."

    It is time for Clegg to say where the Liberals stand on the subject of secure tenancies if nothing for nothing other than the voters who supported the Liberals in the last election among them many thousands of council tenants, including my wife......smugly I must say I did warn her.

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  • michael barratt

    If election political manifestos were tangible products say soap powders (there are a number of similarities) it is highly likely the Liberals and Conservative would be prosecuted under Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Business Protection Misleading Regulations 2008 intended to protect consumers. Of course in an attempt to avoid prosecution the Lib Cons would claim parliamentary privilege.

    Much has been made of benefit cheats etc - Well are our political leaders good role models? After all societies like fish tend to go rotten head down not tail up.

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  • Since when have election manifestos meant anything? Tuition fees and voting reform are just to the last Governent reneged on! I think its naieve at best to take these documents at face value!

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  • I fail to see where Michael Barratt called the Liberals in on this, since it seems they weren't in these meetings, but as stated above, the last government failed to do anything about many manifestos and promises. Shock horror governments can't be relied on to live up to their promises.

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  • Chris

    Politician caught being inconvenient with the truth - shock horror, why the suprise? At least Blair promised not to change any part of the Tory economic policy, and kept his word on that. If only he had lied and reformed the economy instead - but such is hindsight.

    The question is, what are you going to do about being lied to?

    Type clever messages on website debate boards and feel good about yourself?
    Join an alternative party that has truthful politicians?
    Vote for the other set of liars next time?
    Hide in a corner and hope it all goes away?

    No, most likely the majority will use the universal British answer to anything difficult - blame somebody else.

    None of the above solves the problem, nor will they deter future electoral manipulation.

    It would be helpful if following posters could head their posts: Solutions or Tribal Rant, so we can quickly concentrate on the contributers to debate as opposed to the detractors.

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  • I do welcome this conservative iniative. Tenants need to realise they are at the bottom of the pile, abused non stop and do something about it.
    the only thing that will give them motivation to raise and fight has got to be taking away our security of tenure.
    so, let it happen and let's see if we can fight it back.
    It will have the great benefit of really getting tenants off their asses and, instead of looking for jobs or whatever, really fight the government like we did with the poll tax.

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  • Christopher, you might apply the same standards to your own post, which seems not to offer any solution.

    This sort of divisive policy can only survive when the oppostion to it is itself divided. A strong response, which will clearly hit them at the next poll is the only answer. So perhaps its time to forget the tribal rituals altogether?

    I'm more concerned that CIH and NHF didn't come out clearly with this information BEFORE the election. It appears to show a frightening lack of understanding of how politics works. The public is now being roused to target an imagined "scrounger" class, making acceptance of policies of this type easier and the extinction of social housing in this country all the more likely.

    This is a fundamental issue. Some leadership - from the leaders -would be nice.

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  • McMadman

    Krass, even by the usual standards of your posts your latest suggestion is complete nonsense.

    Your suggested answer, on behalf of all the tenants you claim are abused by their nasty landlord and the government is....... to make things even worse by removing security of tenure ?

    The poll tax analogy is a misnomer. Pretty much every adult (some exceptions) had to pay the poll tax. Barely 30% of the population live in social housing for a kick off, and of the balance, a lot think social rented tenants are tax doging, over subsidised welfare scrounging and/or just a little bit mad. Don't see mass support for this at Westminster bridge or people burning police wagons as a result.

    Are you an undercover Tory ? Or just totally without a clue ?

    3/1 the first option, 2/1 second, 1/6 on the third option I reckon.

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  • "Moan? - Like your hypocritical post just did?
    Type clever messages on website debate boards and feel good about yourself? - Hows that working for you so far?
    Join an alternative party that has truthful politicians? - Please provide an example.
    Vote for the other set of liars next time? - Seems to work for most the country
    Hide in a corner and hope it all goes away?" - Governments rarely do.

    It's not surprising that this was on the Tories cards, hopefully the libdems might have some more backbone and shoot this down rather than concede it for something else they want. As much as people lament coalition governments, its a wonderful thing sometimes and beat the majority govs where once they get in they have 4-5 years to do whatever they want without caring about the electorate.

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  • Tories exposed for mis-selling security! Surely the biggest shock since England lost to Germany in the World Cup, since rain in a British summer, since ... oh, you get the idea. And if/when it happens it will also be a LibDem implementation, as well as the Con.
    A fight along the Poll Tax lines is an idea, but it may not have the nationwide support, as it will impact on the lives of far fewer people than the poll tax did. And the tabloids will obviously be for it.

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