Thursday, 23 February 2017

Ministers’ views condemned as an ‘insult’ to social tenants

Housing chiefs slam Shapps’ allocation comments

Senior housing figures have hit out at Grant Shapps for controversial comments about social housing tenants.

The housing minister yesterday said: ‘For years the system for social housing has been associated with injustice – where rewards are reaped for those who know how to play the system best.

‘Despite this terrible image a lazy consensus in social housing has ensured that, for an entire generation, no-one has bothered to do anything about it.’

The housing minister made the comments yesterday as a consultation on the government’s new allocations policy, which urges councils to prioritise tenants who are seeking work, was launched.

Mr Shapps’ comments angered a number of chief executives, who said there was little evidence for the minister’s claim that there is injustice in the allocations system.

Tom Murtha, chief executive of 32,000-home association Midland Heart, said Mr Shapps comments are an ‘insult’ to people living in social housing.

Mr Murtha said: ‘I am appalled that Mr Shapps can suggest that we have been complacent in the sector and that the system creates injustice. I am not aware of any evidence that supports this. In fact, the evidence that exists suggests the contrary.

‘The vast majority of people living in social housing are decent people striving to live positive lives, often in difficult circumstances. Mr Shapps’ comments are an insult to these people and their families.’

Mr Murtha said Midland Heart’s homes are already let to those who most need them.

Keith Exford, chief executive of 55,000-home Affinity Sutton, said: ‘To make sweeping generalizations about four million people is pretty uncalled for.’

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