Cui Bono and the Housing Bill

So and so MP just quoted our Chief Exec. That’s our report that the chinless MP just quoted.  We built more houses than you. This Bill will mean XYZ in London and no mention of elsewhere. No, we built more house than you….

And so on went the very narrow self-interest of all the actors on the stage and the what’s in it for me or cui bono principle was tiresome – and soporific too as I actually fell asleep watching this debacle.

Yes opinionated rent-a-quote sad bastard me with a degree in politics and working in housing for almost a generation fell asleep watching this excuse for discussion and democracy!

Social media commentary was just as bad, just as polemical and as usual two plus two making five and with both the phrase a little knowledge is a dangerous thing came to mind repeatedly and often.

The Bill means the end of security of tenure and the end of community and stability and it also voted down an amendment to make homes fit for human habitation and these are radical issues. Not small issues but life-changing ones and then some for tenants.

Perhaps while I was asleep someone may have mention that pay MORE to stay means a couple both working 40 hours per week on minimum wage in Guildford – which has the highest social rent levels in the UK and yes more than London – would see their rent increase by £12,000 per year as they go over the threshold by £34 per year.

Again my apologies if said while I was in the land of Nod (as opposed to land of Nod and Wink inhabited by MPs) the question was asked as to why the pay MORE to stay threshold was higher in London than in higher rent Guildford.  Both of these points highlight just how ill-conceived this Bill is and always has been but hey obvious simple facts and parliamentary democracyare rare bedfellows.

No mention either that the Government’s 100,000 planned affordable (sic) rent new properties meant only those in work could afford because of the benefit cap, LHA maxima yet even then caught by Pay MORE to Stay. And no mention of any pledge or promise for ANY social rent level homes too!

Instead we had the usual motley crew of petty point scoring politicians from all sides, the same MPs who will suddenly undergo a Damascean moment between January 2020 and May 2020 and profess how wonderful genuine affordable housing is and how much it is needed – but then it will of course be too late.

There was even the odd clearly HA-briefed MP who tried to promote the argument that housing associations were railroaded into the voluntary right to buy deal that THEY proposed and which will inevitably go tits up before the end of this parliament.  Shameful!

What all the above shares is that the provision of genuinely affordable housing is a necessity and pays huge benefits to any country in terms of the economy and its absence significantly damages that country.  Yet the social and economic principle of social housing from Lloyd George’s (and Sir Tudor Walters) homes fit for heroes to live in through the creation of council housing in the 1948 Welfare State through the post-war consensus of its importance was not even discussed and neither where the implications of its absence and further depletion.

The usual suspects were out on Twitter too and the myopia of the social housing professional was there for all to say.  In general terms decrying how outrageous it was that private landlords were not forced to provide homed fit for human habitation while conveniently forgetting there is nothing in law to compel social landlords to provide homes fit for human habitation either.

We also saw the housing professionals moaning like hell about the enforced 1% rent cut per year and conveniently forgetting – which I’m sure Government will remind -that their average rent and average housing benefit levels increased by over 20% since May 2010 against an inflation rate of just over 12% – and that private landlords average housing benefit levels actually fell by 0.59% in this time.

What convenient memories housing associations have and what narrow parochial and philosophically blinded views they adopt to social housing and to their own deficiencies.

Anyone care to open a book on the Government saying social landlords should have fixed the roof while the sun as shining with inflation busting rent increases? About as certain as the death of social housing no?

Finally, all of the self-interested actors from MPs, MPs as private landlords, MP’s of all parties and the housing associations and anyone else rarely if ever looked at and spoke about what this means for social tenants, who just happen to amount to circa 5.6 million voters.

No doubt these social tenants, these little people, the non-aspiring ne’er do wells and philosophical and economic idiots who actually choose to socially rent and not buy and become part of the great property owning democracy (blah, blah, blah … insert you own bullshit here) will get their own back in May 2020- though the problem they have is which bunch of self-interested couldn’t give a shit about social tenant fuckwits do they vote for!!

end                                                                                                    …of social housing

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8 thoughts on “Cui Bono and the Housing Bill

  1. The problem is, we do not have a democracy, but a two party state. And the electorate has chosen not to vote, not even bothering to register to vote. Until the electoral system, is changed for some form of proportional representation and people are educated about politics. The UK is doomed, like the USA to be a nation of the privileged minority and the majority living in poverty.

  2. Am new to area +just joined my housing assoc resident’s panel wld like to be well informed re issues and have independent discussions re implication of Housg Bill + impact on tenants, it’s all new to me Our HA has to cut £40m this year! Am a member of Lab Party but LA + cllrs are heavily criticised by some local people re LA’s historic housing decisions I can’t tell who is most reliable re tenant’s interests? Anyone have guidelines re what LA’s best responses

    1. You will find lots of information, if you read through many of Joe’s previous blogs.
      I hope, you will also, get yourself, well informed about the Bedroom Tax. And how you can assist tenants, who are affected. Does your HA know which of their tenants, are affected??? And, what help, have they given??
      I ask this, because the majority of HA’s have not given their tenants any support at all.
      As long as, the rent is being paid. That, is all they are concerned with.
      And, are very quick to go down the route of potential, evictions.

      Whereas, IF they had identified those tenants who, ARE affected. They could point out the Appeal process. The DHP process. Etc. Etc.

      1. Thanks very much Debbie
        The HA has a worker to assist with benefit problems and give advice, which is advertised on the website and the induction pack though some might be reluctant to use a HA worker The website also has a range of advice agency contact details.
        I’m very concerned about the proposed cuts and know some tenants really want right to buy so its a question of if HAs can survive this
        We also have schemes for older people and the implications of the housing bill, role of carers and LA cuts are making life very difficult for some very vulnerable people
        I have loads to read up on!
        Thanks for your advice it’s helped

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