I suggest a campaign about ...

Under occupancy of Social Housing

Stop council houses that can home families of 4 or 5 people being occupied by single people or couples. They don't own the houses and other families have a greater need.

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    AnonymousAnonymous shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    1 comment

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      • Judith McAlister MackJudith McAlister Mack commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I strongly disagree. People's council houses are their homes.

        Tenants often put a lot of work into decorating and improving them - and remember under a lot of councils tenants are themselves responsible for the interior decoration of the houses. That is not a small thing to people on a low wage. Tenants also have responsibity for cultivating their gardens. Sometimes they find they have to lay paths and erect and maintaining a shed. We have lost sight of the old ideas of the welfare state established at the end of the Second World War when people spoke of creating 'a land fit for heroes' and when there was, I believe, a widespread belief that people who could not afford to buy should have a good home at an affordable rent.

        The present problem has arisen because so many council houses were sold off under Mrs Thatcher, many of them family sized ones. People cannot be blamed for buying, and it was good to see people 'getting on in life', but it certainly was a blow to continuing tenants who, if they were in a bad area of an estate (or 'scheme' as it is called in Scotland) had less chance of being moved to a house in a better area. To make it worse councils stopped building houses. Now we see the government making another attack on tenants, by creating a situation where they are likely to be forced into a move if members of their family leave home or die.

        Where are poorer people going to find the money to move, and to buy furnishings that fit the new property, and to pay a gas fitter or an electrician for essential work on installing their cooker? Mrs Thatcher put a stop to one-off special social security payments for people on benefits or on a low income who were either forced or had a good reason to move house.

        Of course, it doesn't matter at all that they may have decorated their old home to their taste and that they would have to redecorate the new house if their furniture and soft furnishings were to look good in it. They are people who haven't competed well economically and so their tastes and feelings are to be disregarded.

        What about the newly bereaved who are told by an official from their council that they must put aside their grief because they must move soon to a smaller property?

        What about workers whose fear of losing their job (and that can happen to anyone at present) is compounded because they know that the housing benefit they will receive will not cover their rent?

        And where are councils going to find all those one bedroomed houses for couples and single people? At least where I live, most council properties are two bedroomed. A retired council official told me he wonders if it is an attempt by central government to pass housing costs on to the councils.

        Believe me, I do sympathise with people who need a larger house, but the answer is to build more council houses, not push existing tenants out of their homes.

        Judith

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