Socialist Worker

Council pushes ahead with Tory housing attack

by Viv Smith
Issue No. 2214

The Tories launched a new attack on council house tenants last week as David Cameron said tenants need to rethink the idea of a council house being “yours for ever”.

He is threatening to change the law. Housing officers at Tory-run Kensington and Chealsea council in west London aren’t even waiting for that.

They’ve already started ringing council house tenants living in properties the council considers “too large” for their needs.

Carla Farinhas, 58, lives in a two-bedroom flat in the borough which she has occupied for 22 years.

She said she was “scared” after receiving a call by a housing officer who told her she would have to move out under new government plans.

“I am scared I will lose my flat,” said Carla.

“My husband died 15 years ago, I raised my two girls here and I use the spare room when my grandchildren come to stay.

“I love my home and now I am being told I could be forced to move out.”

The government’s new plans may be presented on 20 October, the day of the government spending review.

They could include regular reviews of tenancies to see if the tenant still needed such a large property or had “sufficient income” to shift to the private sector. Cameron also said council houses should be allocated on fixed-term deals rather than for life.

Lose

A TUC analysis of June’s emergency budget published last week reveals that 936,960 households across the UK will each lose at least £12 a week (£624 a year) as a result of changes to housing benefit announced in the budget.

Perhaps Cameron should start asking the rich how many homes they own, and how many spare bedrooms they have.

He could start with himself.

David and Samantha Cameron are said to have a joint wealth of £30 million. Aside from their comfy residence in Downing Street, they have a house in Kensington and Chelsea, the same borough as Carla Farinhas.

But the Cameron’s posh pad is worth £2 million—and the mortgage was paid for under the parliamentary expenses system. And they own a mansion in Oxfordshire—Cameron’s constituency—worth at least £1 million.

Perhaps, before taking our homes, Cameron should give his Kensington house to one of the millions facing cuts that will leave them having to choose between feeding themselves and paying their rent.


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News
Tue 10 Aug 2010, 17:16 BST
Issue No. 2214
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