Matthew Pennycook (Labour councillor in the London Borough of Greenwich and a trustee of the Fair Pay Network) on the government’s awfully ‘unfair’ ideas about social housing:
If the coalition government, ostensibly wedded to the creation of “sustainable, inclusive, mixed communities in all areas, both rural and urban”, truly valued these ideals, it would praise tenants that have improved their circumstances rather than penalise them.
Well, leaving aside the utter nonsense that ‘mixed’ communities are somehow the goal, or even something government should be striving towards, just how is it supposedly ‘penalising’ them?
Instead, the housing minister, Grant Shapps, has outlined plans that would force households that collectively earn over £100,000 to pay market rents.
As Tim puts it, ‘My god! The bastards!’…
Government ministers waste no opportunity to associate living in social housing with a damaging lack of aspiration, yet this initiative would see a family in social housing with four earners, each on £25,000 a year, perhaps with the two young adults struggling to save for a deposit to buy their first home, having their rent dramatically raised.
And that situation describes what tiny, infinitesimal percentage of cases?
What lies behind this mismatch between a purported belief in mixed communities and the suggestion that social housing should be restricted to those on low incomes? The answer lies in the government’s ideological desire to embed in the public consciousness the notion that social housing is a form of welfare that in itself encourages dependency.
Well, you’re certainly right there; that is what they believe, and furthermore, they are right to do so.
The unintended consequences will be numerous but it is a fair assumption that the policy will result in both an increased cost to the taxpayer in additions to the housing benefit bill and a further decline in the numbers of genuinely mixed communities.
Again – what benefit accrues to the nation from these ‘mixed communities’..?
I can see, of course, just why Matthew wants to maintain a captive preserve of typical Labour voters, dependent on the State, though.