The Conservative government wants to privatise the social housing model that houses TEN MILLION men, women and children in the UK. The Conservative’s first target is the 63% of social housing that is housing associations and then likely seek to privatise the 37% that is council housing. That is the end game.
Since I raised the idea of the Tenant Campaign Group (TCG) last Friday there has been no disagreement that the TCG is the best way to fight Government as its 4.3 million tenancies contain 5.6 million voters. The ‘humble’ social tenant has more potential power to influence policy than all the social landlords put together!
A sobering thought for social landlords not only in its factual basis but because they have never seen this dimension before. Many landlords will not want to believe that privatisation is on the agenda despite the FT story and the best efforts of Inside Housing playing the NHF card by seeking to deny its validity while grooming the white charger they desperately hope Greg Clark will ride.
We may all hope for the best, yet need to plan for the worst.
I still remain convinced the overwhelming majority of social housing professionals do not want privatisation of social housing yet they need to speak up as does the tiny(?) minority of housing professionals who do want privatisation of social housing.
The average private tenant pays £186 per week rent compared to the average social rent of £94 and the social tenant has much stronger rights of tenure unlike the private tenant who can be evicted without reason and very quickly. That will happen to the social tenant if social housing is privatised.
Will the 5.6 million current social tenants vote for a party who doubles their rent and takes away their housing security?
Of course not and such a question becomes rhetorical yet the old saying of hope for the best but plan for the worst is at play as we would all (largely) like to hope Osborne does not go ahead with this privatisation that will leave our children and grandchildren nowhere to live, yet we have to plan on the basis that he will go ahead.
So who will privatisation affect or put another way, Who lives in social housing? Be prepared to abandon the falsehoods from Benefit Street and other poverty porn TV and the Daily Mail projections and look at some facts instead.
The facts above are all sourced from official sources and are powerful in destroying decades of myth and one of the roles of the TCG will be to present fact and evidenced based data which is a novelty when it comes to UK housing policy or discussion over social housing!
Yet having a good idea is one thing; turning that into the TCG as a national lobby for all social tenants is another. I released the TCG idea last Friday here when it was planned for January 2016. I also produced an update over the weekend here which included outline conversations from some enlightened landlords offering a non-strings attached one-off seed funding to get the TCG up and running, yet talk and action are two separate things.
The TCG cannot happen without funding and while its primary aim must be to fight the privatisation of social housing, the TCG is a long-term and permanent project and has to be. I issued a third TCG post here entitled Why we need the TCG and the primary aim of preventing privatisation is a mutually beneficial one for tenants and social landlords…
…UNLESS those landlords who voted YES to the voluntary deal to prevent housing associations being seen as public, a strategy that has clearly failed and cogently discussed here is a recognition that some HAs want to go down the private route and move rents from their current £94 per week level up to the £186 average private rent level?
Who lives in a house like this suddenly becomes who do HAs want to live in them and it is time for those HA’s to come clean and say they want privatisation. Yet with regard to this government’s housing policy intentions to date all the evidence so far suggests the cloak and dagger obfuscation will continue.
The Autumn Statement on 25 November I strongly suspect will see some rushed and contrived mechanism from the Chancellor to muddy the social housing privatisation / deregulation issue and even further destabilise the social housing model by confusion. Eh?
In simple terms the Government and NHF have made a pig’s ear of it and are seeking to cover that up in the hope that the ‘humble’ social tenant doesn’t notice and/or can be fed off with this is far too complex for you to understand so put your trust in the same idiots who made the pig’s ear of it in the first place.
Just one more reason why we need the Tenant Campaign Group that when formed will have the power to nip in the bud all future pig’s ears from Government and from landlords.
I set up a quick Facebook page for the TCG late last night here and early discussions on social tenant issues include an apparent large increase in the use of Ground 8 mandatory evictions by housing associations. Just one of the tenant issues the TGC will keep a close eye on.
The largest housing story today is the Guardian piece here on 350,000 young people will be excluded from the ‘housing ladder’ by a lack of affordable homes.
Ask yourself if the simple facts in the above table play a huge part in that as 77% of young people have to privately rent and therefore cannot afford to save for a deposit as they could much more easily if they could live in social housing with its average £92 per week cheaper rent or £4,784 yearly cheaper rent!?
Solving the home ownership crisis – the only crisis this government wants to solve – requires that fact about social housing has to be considered in that solution, which of course it hasn’t been considered at all as per usual!