David Cameron has caused a furore by arguing that tenancies for Council houses should be reviewed after a period of time and not necessarily permanent. I can't understand Liberals (like my good friends Adrian Sanders, a housing expert, and Simon Hughes) who oppose what Cameron has actually said. As reported on BBC Radio 4 yesterday it sounded pretty unanswerable. Here was my reply to Adrian's comments on his Facebook page:
So why should Council housing be provided permanently? Why should the State provide housing permanently at a huge subsidy for people who can afford to pay the same as others? Why should the State tell people in desperate need that they can't have Council housing because people who can afford to live elsewhere are being subsidised? The answer I have got over more than ten years is that most tenants are on housing benefit but why a catch all policy. No doubt many Labour supporters still believe in a state monopoly on housing and the Council estates of Merseyside are a testimony to neglect and failure. This is a very Southern reaction where the concentrations of deprivation and the disparity are very great – but in London, in Liverpool and everywhere in between many people have done well out of state subsidised housing when taxpayers should not be subsidising them. Of course there should be protection for the elderly, for young families and those who don't have a choice for other reasons.
Yes great people want to stay in an area rather than move – so give them a range of housing choice.