Paul Waugh has picked up on Cameron’s change of mind over letting council tenants stay in the same home for life. As I wrote last night, the PM indicated yesterday that he would change the rules – prompting accusations of a U-turn by Labour. Before the election he said he had no such plans.
But why should someone who needs a council house at 18 or 19 automatically keep the right to stay in it for life? Not least given there are 1.8m households on the waiting list for social housing. Frank Dobson famously lived in a council house when he joined the cabinet on a six-figure salary: a ludicrous situation.
No one seems to know how many other successful professionals have hung on to their state-subsidised home. Now, at a time of drastic spending cuts across the state, is the time to find out.
The National Housing Federation has welcomed the fact that Cameron is only threatening to change the rules for new tenants – not for those who are already have a place. They argue that only 10 per cent of tenants earn more than £20,900 a year.
You could turn that around and say that if 8m people live in social or council housing that implies that 800,000 of them earn more than the national average salary. In which case, should they be receiving this perk? And how many of those 800,000 are on much higher incomes?