How Cameron is destroying Britain's social housing - in 7 easy steps

Tony Gosling tony at
Sun Feb 7 23:32:58 GMT 2016

How David Cameron plans to destroy Britain's social housing in 7 easy steps
    * 20:13, 12 JAN 2016 - UPDATED 09:24, 13 JAN 

The Tories new housing bill has been sneaked in 
while nobody's looking, and it could spell the end of social housing

David Cameron seems to want Britain to get out of 
the business of putting rooves over people's heads
David Cameron seems hell-bent on destroying Britain's social housing for good.
The Tories' new housing bill contains a string of 
measures which could drastically reduce the 
country's stocks of social housing - which 
thousands rely on to keep a secure roof over their heads.
There are rule changes, sell-offs and pledges to bulldoze homes.
They're even changing the definition of 'affordable housing'.
And they're using sneaky tactics to push it through while nobody's watching.
Here's how they're getting away with it.

Step 1. Change the definition of 'affordable housing'

Councils have more leeway over approving 
developments if a certain amount of the property 
being built meets the definition of 'affordable housing'.
Currently, that definition covers rented homes 
and temporary housing, including social housing, 
which is let to people who can't afford to rent at market rates.
But the 
definition of affordable housing , will also include homes to buy.
That's right. It means council 'affordable 
housing' quotas will include 
These are houses for sale to first time buyers 
under 40 years old, worth up to £450,000 in 
London, or £250,000 elsewhere, if they're offered at a 20% discount.
Homelessness charity Shelter say these homes will 
be unaffordable to people on low incomes in 98% 
of the country, and unaffordable to those on 
middle incomes in 58% of the country.
Cameron said on Monday: "People get too hung up 
on these definitions. The definition of 
affordable housing is a house that someone can 
afford to buy or afford to rent”.

Step 2. Sell off what you can

First, the controversial 'right to buy' scheme, 
which has drastically reduced stocks of council 
housing since it was introduced by Margaret 
Thatcher, is being extended to Housing Association homes.
To pay back the money lost to Housing 
Associations in the hefty discounts on these 
homes, councils will also be forced to sell off 
their most valuable council houses as they become available.

Step 3. Bulldoze the rest

On Sunday, 
Cameron announced plans to bulldoze Britain's 
worst so-called 'sink estates' as part of a "blitz" on poverty.
He told the BBC's Andrew Marr: “I think it is 
time, with government money, but with massive 
private sector and perhaps pension sector help, 
to demolish the worst of these, and actually 
rebuild houses that people feel they can have a real future in.”

Step 4. Make it look like you're going to replace 
them, but don't actually replace them

The latest claim for how the government is going 
to replace the stocks of social and council 
housing that's about to be either demolished or 
flogged, is that TWO new homes will be built to replace it.
Sounds good, right? Surely that will build the 
housing stocks back up again, won't it?
At first glance, it appears so. But then you look 
at the small print, which states that the newly 
built homes will be "affordable homes."
And if you've been paying attention, you know 
that that doesn't necessarily mean homes to rent, 
or even homes that people on low incomes can afford.
the last year, just one social home has been 
built for every eight sold off under right to buy.

Step 5. Let people sell off 'starter homes' at a huge profit

After five years, the lucky people who snag one 
of these costly 'affordable' starter homes can sell them at market rate.
So on a £450,000 house, bought for a 20% discount 
(funded by the taxpayer), that could be up to a 
£90,000 profit even if house prices stay the same.

Step 6. Force people out of council housing wherever possible

Families earning £30,000 a year (that's basically 
a couple on minimum wage) and living in social 
housing, will see a massive hike in their rent.
They'll lose the subsidy offered to social 
housing tenants, meaning they have to pay full market rent.
It's being called a "pay to stay" scheme.
On top of that, anyone taking on a new tenancy, 
or inheriting a tenancy on a council home, will 
have less security on their contract than previous tenants.
Under the new bill, 
tenancies are to be phased out , to be replaced 
with contracts lasting between two and five years.

Step 7. Sneak it all through while nobody's looking

The Tories insisted on debating the bill during a 
late-night session last week, while many - 
including the Labour Party - were distracted by 
<>Jeremy Corbyn 's reshuffle.
The Government refused to delay the debate, 
despite a string of urgent additions to the day's 
parliamentary proceedings pushing the debate long past midnight.
And Tory ministers added a full 65 pages of new 
clauses and amendments "at the last minute", 
according to furious shadow ministers.
The six-hour debate only started at 8.50pm after 
it was repeatedly delayed by four urgent 
announcements, including from 
<>David Cameron and Theresa May.
A vote on holding the debate until 3am passed by 303 votes to 195.

So what does this all mean?

Between the sell offs and the bulldozing, 
Britain's existing stock of council and social 
housing is set to dwindle even further.
And the changes to the definition of "affordable 
housing" means there's absolutely nothing to say 
the Government has to replace the social housing 
we've lost with more social housing.
What it all suggests is that 
Cameron doesn't thing the British government has 
a responsibility to ensure everyone has a roof over their heads.
No more taxpayers money will go on housing....
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