Conservative minister says ending lifetime council tenancies will ‘help social mobility’

Labour MP Gareth Thomas said the remarks about council tenancies by housing minister Marcus Jones were ‘insensitive’ to those who will lose their homes [Image: Mark Kerrison/Demotix/Corbis].

“Help social mobility”? In which direction?

A Conservative minister has claimed council tenants may benefit from losing the right to live in their home for life because they might not have thought about buying their own property before.

Marcus Jones, a housing minister, said the new five-year limit on council tenancies would encourage people to own their properties.

Labour has accused the government of a “vendetta against council tenants”, while housing charities said it would break up communities, after the government quietly inserted the changes into the new housing and planning bill.

But Jones made the claim that council tenants would benefit after he was pressed by Labour MP Peter Dowd to justify the argument that it would “help social mobility”.

Speaking in the housing and planning bill committee, Jones said: “All of the policies within this bill are aimed at helping social mobility. We want people who are able to purchase their own property or able to exercise the right to buy to do so, to exercise what we see as a right to social mobility.

Source: Conservative minister says ending lifetime council tenancies will ‘help social mobility’ | Society | The Guardian

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30 thoughts on “Conservative minister says ending lifetime council tenancies will ‘help social mobility’

  1. che

    What this means is after 5 years the rent will go up, people will be thrown out of their houses, or starve or freeze, a private landlord will take it over or it will be demolished. It is signalling the end of council houses. also if the tenancy is only for 5 years people will be reluctant to decorate or maintain it, as they may not be there after 5 years.

  2. Dez

    Yet another hooray toff with absolutely no common sense sneaking this little earner into the legislation for some covert reason ahead of whatever is coming the way of the real people of this country. Not sure I read this one in any Cons manifesto. Perhaps in future in addition to blatant lies/promises Parties should also include all their cunning plans so the electorate can see the good and the bad of voting for said parties… the rare commodity of honesty. Yet another home goal with no thought of impact on the real world. With so many similar peasant bashing ideas one has to really if the Cons are on some unpleasant mission which the population has not quite seen yet. Hopefully the revolution will have taken place before they achieve their master race delivery.

  3. Perspective

    Social mobility? Council/social housing estates will be turned into means-tested, time-limited, poverty-ridden transit camps, resulting in transient populations shifting from one area to another.

    That is social mobility if the Tories get their way!

  4. daijohn

    There two sides to social mobility, you go up our you go down. Is being forced to move from a good community where the rents are affordable to an inadequate house with a poor environment and crippling mortgage just because you have exceeded your time limit a good idea? Is it what social mobility means?

  5. paulrutherford8

    My comment on the Guardian article comments section:

    Here is yet another indication of how little these tory MP’s understand ordinary people.

    Plenty of people I know have moved out of their ‘homes for life’ naturally, when their circumstances changed and they could afford to.

    Plenty of people I know have stayed in their ‘homes for life’ because they were unable to move, for many reasons.

    Plenty of people I know find this tory mentality deeply, deeply offensive. It truly is most disturbing.

  6. Michael Broadhurst

    did anyone tell him that most people wouldn’t get a mortgage on the present low wage
    rates or neither would people on zero hour contracts.
    what gets into people’s heads in this idiotic government.

  7. A-Brightfuture

    This is a wonderful example of passive aggressive journalism. The haters must be foaming at the mouth at the thought of lifetime tenancy’s, whilst trotting out about the wonderful gift of social mobility.

    Let me soothe your dark soul, here in the south east, Essex county Council has not had the policy of hand-me-down council houses for years,
    Children over the age of 18 have not been able to go on the “rent book” to share the tenancy with the parent.

    I do not know about other councils, but this one “DONT”.
    I asked 5 years ago to put my son on the tenancy and was told “NO”!!!!!

    All this policy does is play “musical houses”.
    When the music stops……a house is taken away!!!!

  8. Brian

    This is another example of the erosion of what Britain was. No doubt Mike has a tick list of the rights we are losing one by one, I wouldn’t mind catching sight of it, if only to satisfy my conscience that this is really happening. I must not be the only one who feels threatened here, only today, the chief medical officer suggests obesity is akin to terrorism, and proposes the government should take steps to restrict people’s choice of lifestyle! There are too many of these self interested groups poking their nose into our rights that eventually result in repressive legislation. Who the hell are they, to say and persuade for legislation that affects life choice, and no, I am not obese.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The Conservative Party is the Party of Restriction.
      I’ve been saying it for years.
      Tories try to portray themselves as being the Party of Choice, but if you look at what they do, you get a more accurate idea.

  9. Gary Aronsson

    What an excellent idea,people can be pushed out of their homes and into the waiting arms of the Buy To Let Landlords,rents can skyrocket,poverty will increase and the gutters will fill up with those who aren’t interested in being Socially Mobile!

    Just think of all the advantages to be gained from destroying every last vestige of community still left in our poorest areas,the little bits that haven’t been destroyed by drug dealers,the deliberate destruction of our industrial base and unlimited mass immigration.

    Just how much of this do the British people have to have dumped on them before they get the message that our Ruling Elite despise them? These people seriously buy into Agenda 21 and the idea that life for them would be much nicer if 95% of us would simply dry up and blow away.

    And for those who still doubt this let me remind them of what kindly old Prince Phillip said in reply to the enquiry as to what he would like to reincarnated as. This long time member of the Bilderberg Group said that he would love to be reborn as a DEADLY VIRUS so he could wipe out millions of people! Now who do you think he had in mind when he made that little quip, the chaps down at Eton, the crowd at Royal Ascot?

  10. John Ingamells

    These Tories really have no idea at all ! Social mobility will not artificially be gained because decent social affordable housing disappears, quite the opposite. An Inequality. education and income remains, less available income because the poorest have to meet higher rents, controlled less and not protected by a social provision as a philosophy. In reality inequality will widen and weaken the chance of social monolith, under the Tories illogical ideological ideas. Most Tories know the removal of social housing will be another hammer blow to the most vulnerable, cutting them further adrift from the privilege and wealth of those at the top. Any future Labour government, hopefully socialist driven, should prioritise a mass building of social housing through the UK. If we do not act soon the crisis. Will create greater poverty, despair and homelessness. I have absolutely no faith that a Blairite Labour Party will reverse this Tory policy having had 13 years to act and creating greater inequality and not addressing the social housing issue. Socialism is the only hope in this area

  11. ian725

    This could be worse than many policies advocated by this Arrogant, Unfeeling ,Uncaring Conservative Government. The effect will be catastrophic to most families. It will certainly drive the price of housing upward still further to a false height. It will benefit only the most well off and of course The Financial Institution … the pay masters of this corrupt government. Mortgage rates will be driven ever higher to an extent of affordability by the vast majority will be cast into History. In the end of course what goes up must come down leaving some without a home as the properties are repossessed. Looks as though these contemptuous and odious members of the Tory Party will be remembered as the worst Government in British History …… and that is an unenviable acclamation.

  12. Bookworm

    Not everyone can improve their wages or health to the point where they can afford to buy.
    And what about family members who’re caring for someone? I take it they will be turfed out as soon as the person they’re caring for dies?

  13. hayfords

    I agree with the principle but for different reasons. There has never been sufficient social housing at any time in our history. Social housing is allocated on the basis of need. Over time the recipients of the social housing have changes in their circumstances. These changes are often such that they would not be considered for social housing.

    There is therefore an argument that these people should move to the private sector. No government has ever built enough social housing and it unlikely that any government ever will. People who do not now qualified for social housing keep people off the housing waiting lists for years.

    It is quite possible for a household in social housing to be much better off than households in the private sector. As social housing is an asset belonging to local councils, it could be put to better use by allocating it to people in more need.

    It seems bizarre to give a valuable assets to those in need and let them keep it forever despite not needing it anymore.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Oh, has there not been enough social housing, ever?
      I’m sure there are some who would dispute that but even if true, perhaps that would not have been the case by now, had Margaret Thatcher not decided to sell it all off.
      Also, consider the lack of affordable new housing being built for sale. If social housing is allocated on the basis of need, and people in that housing don’t qualify – but they can’t afford to buy a house because they’re all so inexcusably expensive, then their only alternative is to become homeless. Then they’re in need and qualify for social housing. That’s ridiculous.
      Your argument that they should move to the private sector will always fall, until the price of private sector housing comes down – and the Conservative Government is doing its best to ensure that this does not happen.

    2. roderickoatesrodthesod2012

      We, my wife and I have occupied our home for thirty years now. While we might be not able to qualify for “social housing” now, we are both in our sixties and are nearing the ends of our lives. Your explanation and discription of the circumstances people in “social housing” are not accurate as far as we are concerned. We have found ourselves made redundant on many occasions. This is not of our doing, it was the approach taken by the people who are supposed to be taking care of the country, politicians.
      It might be more respectful of people who write here to consider the entire demography rather than consider their own circle of friends and acquaintances to be a true reflection of the British people. Forinstance how many of your friends have been members of the armed forces?

      1. ian725

        roderick …. quite right sir also there are quite a number of us that have been active in the services in numerous Theaters throughout globe. Been pretty thankless too in the Past.

  14. AndyH

    I’d have thought affordable homes and a living wage would help people buy their own house, but clearly I’m just a maverick…

  15. Nick

    If you buy your own property you would already do so no one in their right mind would wont to rent

    where i grew up in the fifties on south east London you went to work and brought your own property the only people who rented were those who wonted to stay in the central zones of London that were just out of their price range

    but if you lived 15 minutes away from central London you had plenty of choice

  16. randombloke

    The only mobility this will achieve is driving low income households off the books of realistically priced/affordable housing which is maintained properly and into the warm lovey dovey arms of the private sector where you have to choose between tolerating disgusting living conditions which over time will make you ill because its less hassle for the landlord to turf out a tenant and get the next unfortunate sap in than it is to get the problem repaired

    With the added incentive of being an enormous conflict of interest within government because of how many MP’s use property as additional income, all the while pleading poverty that they have to pay for their constituency property while serving

    And we thought Thatcher was bad

  17. Jarrow

    And extending waiting lists, missing targets and slyly removing services from the NHS will “encourage” the poor to take out private health insurance policies I suppose. What world do these people live in?

  18. Brian

    All people in social housing are scum, this needs to be reinforced by our valiant government. Let it be said and recognised that those who do not work hard enough are not fit to participate in this new dawn. The government must convert these people to drones for their own good, they do not think, therefore they are not. Remove their support mechanisms, harass, slander and belittle them until they withdraw and are no more. A world without these lazy penniless imbeciles will benefit progress and civilisation, and when their carcesses lay bare, only the powerful shall remain without constraint. (a consideration !).

  19. roderickoatesrodthesod2012

    I really don’t know what “social mobility” means. If it means we should all be in positions of management by perhaps thirty five, then who would do the work? Who might be around to teach those who are trying to be “socially mobile” how to do the job in the first place.
    Then of course we have the issue of the majority of “social housing” being in the hands of housing trusts. Are these council houses or not?
    The very idea of throwing people out of the home they have occupied for perhaps thirty years or more because they have not bought it at a time when buying a home is out of reach of most people seems a little “unsustainable”. How many people who were in a home are to be thrown out to have another move in who may or may not take care of the place.Perhaps the next people will be less able to pay the rent?
    This is a ridiculous idea which is pathetic in its aims disasterous in its objectives and suicidal in its execution. Apart from this it is a brilliant piece of Tory thought and indicates their ambition toward the people in this country.

  20. ian725

    Council, Association, Social, HOUSING call it what you will. Should be available to all that is the Ideal, and rent charged according to the type of home and amount of rooms. It should not matter what income if a person chooses to live in Council Housing that person/s should have the right as long as they conform to the regulations agreed at the outset of the agreement. Yes there are some very well off who CHOOSE and prefer Council Housing and certainly plenty of successful people have been born in them. Contrary to popular belief homes have not been in the last few decades a great investment ..quite the contrary in many cases the became the liability most of their buyers did not forsee at the outset. There are far better Investments and far better and quicker returns ‘without’ liability or worry. Anyone has the right to a council house and that right MUST be a safeguard.

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