Think tank says councils should only have duty to house those incapable of housing themselves
Scrap tenancy for life, urges think tank
Security of tenure should be scrapped and councils should only have a duty to house those deemed incapable of obtaining their own home, according to new proposals.
A paper published by influential right-wing think tank Localis and launched this week calls for local authorities to be given total control over housing allocations.
This would allow them to require commitments from prospective tenants ‘to enter work through training’.
The paper, co-authored by Tory leader of Hammersmith & Fulham council Stephen Greenhalgh and 2005 parliamentary candidate John Moss, proposes giving councils and housing associations almost total freedom to let, sell and redevelop stock.
It was published two weeks after the Conservative Party unveiled a raft of plans to incentivise people out of social housing estates.
Under the Localis proposals, rents would rise to near-market levels across social housing, with the government money currently used to build transferred to increased benefit spending, the paper explains. Councils would have a duty to house only those deemed totally incapable of housing themselves.
For the majority, authorities would have only a duty to help them find housing in the market. This would be matched by a statutory duty to ‘fix broken neighbourhoods’, the paper says.
Asked at the launch how close his thinking was to that of the national Conservative party, Mr Greenhalgh said: ‘I know they recognise this is an issue. We’ve got to recognise that this is the key to welfare reform, this is the key to realising asset values and repairing public sector balance sheets.’
The authors calculate their reforms would garner councils £5 billion from increased rents, with which they could build new homes.
Family Mosaic chief executive Brendan Sarsfield said: ‘I think this paper will influence [shadow housing minister] Grant Shapps and his colleagues.
We should take it seriously. ‘We can’t just complain about it. We have got to work with these guys in case there is a Tory government.’