Commentators for social housing just don’t know their backside from their elbow when it comes to communication. And the rest of this 10 minute post shows I am being complimentary to social landlords
Today sees a 65 page report on the bedroom tax from the all party select committee which when read is a strong critique of the bedroom tax policy. YET IT WILL NOT BE READ and that is THE issue.
By contrast the government issues a soundbite that the bedroom tax saves £1m per day – AND THAT WILL BE READ AND COMMUNICATED TO JOE PUBLIC.
That in a nutshell is the issue – that social housing / housing commentators / the social housing ‘sector’ just don’t get.
The ‘sector’ is truly inept and incredibly naive in communicating in the political arena in simple terms.
Joe Public couldn’t give a flying fig for the minutiae of a 65-page report which is 15,000 words plus on the welfare reforms. They will never ever read such a tome and frankly couldn’t be bothered to ever read some very salient points such as Scotland will take 60 years to find enough 1 bed properties for the need the bedroom tax creates which it says at paragraph 56 when read correctly.
15,000 plus words and then appendices of evidence compared to the governments simple message – the bedroom tax saves £1m per day! You don’t need to be Einstein to figure what will be believed and what will resonate in the mind of Joe Public!
I could write 20,000 words here as to why the bedroom tax will cost the public purse and taxpayer more and totally destroy the unsubstantiated and frankly bullshit claim that the bedroom tax saves anything at all let alone £1m per day. Yet that matters not a jot to Joe Public who dont have the time to read such an argument whatever the validity, the bedroom tax saving or cost is ALL they need and want to know.
Yet ‘housing’ yet again gets on its narrow parochial high horse and discusses the ins and outs of a gnats arse when it comes to such reports. That is fine for an extremely limited number of housing people who may want to know that but Joe Public couldn’t give a hoot.
In the bedroom tax ‘Housing’ has let DWP say so many known myths which have been unchallenged and have become ‘fact’ in the publics eye. There are a million spare bedrooms the taxpayer is paying for is one such fallacious claim and there are so many more such as work 2 hours more to pay the bedroom tax – and argument wonderfully demolished by Hilary Burkitt last year that failed to go outside of ‘Housing’ – and the £1m per day saving is just the latest in a long line of nonsense claims from DWP that Joe Public if they knew the facts would call outright known lies.
Yet these lies and that is what they are have never been challenged and there are a number of reasons for this which highlight a huge problem for the alleged sector that ‘Housing’ is. Firstly, it is a notoriously conservative sector that very rarely raises it heads above the parapet. Secondly, it is not a sector it is a collection (note not collective!) of 1200 or so individual social landlords. Thirdly, there is nobody that represents this collection of landlords in terms of PR / awareness raising / spin (call it what you will!)
It is incredibly naive in the political arena and you only have to look to the even more disparate private rented sector to demonstrate just how politically naive it is. The PRS lobbies such as the NLA figuratively ‘jump down the throat’ of any government who even flies a kite for 0.000001% of any change to its members whereas the SRS remains quiet and apathetic to the fundamental destruction of the social housing model which is the consequence of the welfare reforms!
The social housing ‘sector’ despite calling for years for social housing to be a political priority (with many false dawns), now that it is there just doesn’t have a clue what the hell to do!!!
Q) Who REPRESENTS social housing?
A) Er….er….er……oooh never thought of that before!
Therein lies a huge problem for the social housing ‘ sector’ and for the social housing model. The Tories don’t like social housing as a model. Labour are ambivalent with Miliband also saying Thatcher’s RTB was right. Lib Dems are a side issue with no support for the social housing model either and are having an internal leadership struggle over the bedroom tax with anti BT Farron posturing against ?-BT Clegg!
Yet the social housing model SAVES the taxpayer billions each year and always has. The current figures shows private landlords receive £2bn+ more in HB for the equivalent properties yet who the hell is shouting that from the rooftops on behalf of the social housing model? Er…..er…..er…exactly!
Social housing means a social tenant can afford to take up employment that pays £6k gross per year less than his privately renting neighbour as his rent is £80pw less. It is a fantastic invest to save service for the public purse and taxpayer. It is a huge economic fillip for the country yet Joe Public dont have a clue about that and why is that? Er…..er….er….!
Instead Joe Public believes social housing is wasteful, believes it is subsidised, believes it is a drain on the taxpayer and also believes it is the housing of last resort and all yes ALL because social housing can’t and hasn’t got its huge economic and social benefits across and there has been nobody willing to stand up and say that on behalf of the ‘sector!’
Earlier today I posted about a dad who emailed me to say he had won his bedroom tax appeal just as his daughter won hers a few weeks before. The reason that is very pertinent is the dads comments in the email about the bedroom tax: –
“From the very beginning you said don’t moan about it get off your arse and do something about it”
A message that ‘Housing’ or the ‘sector’ needs to take on board. A very very simple message much like the bedroom tax saves £1m per day x
x = kiss = KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!!….and boy have social landlords been stupid!