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“Cameron’s speaking sense,” says Knight Frank

publication date: Aug 28, 2010
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David CameronPrime Minister David Cameron may have upset quite a few people with his comments on lifelong tenancies for council tenants but Tim Hamilton-Miller, Associate in Knight Frank’s affordable housing team thinks that the idea is just plain common sense.

Tim commented, “The pipeline of new affordable homes is falling. This is in part due to the drop in activity of mainstream house builders and in part due to the lower proportion of affordable homes new developments can support. The situation will doubtless be compounded in coming years by the lack of availability of public subsidy in the form of social housing grant to support new proposals by councils, housebuilders or housing associations.

“The provision of socially rented housing is, in the main, publicly subsidised in terms of both construction and housing benefit payments. Its provision should be focused at those in greatest need, particularly in the challenging times that we find ourselves in. It’s a fact that circumstances often change for people over time, both in terms of income and of the size of property they need.

“It wasn’t long ago that a high earning, high profile public servant in London was found to be living in a social rented house in Lambeth paying a reported £90 per week. In order to target the meagre supply of new affordable homes to those who actually need them Mr Cameron’s musings look like plain common sense.”
Tim’s views aren’t shared the Lib-Dem Deputy Leader Simon Hughes has vowed to fight fixed-term tenancy and hinted that his party's annual conference would vote against the idea.

Tim Hamilton-MillerGrant Shapps’ proposals include restricting the length of council tenancies to five or 10 year contracts. Once a tenant earned more money, they would be expected to move to a private rented home or buy their own property. Councils will also be allowed to remove the right to buy from new tenants who sign up to fixed, short-term tenancies.

Mr Cameron is obviously expecting challenges to as he said that it was time for a “big argument” over the future of council housing but the Tories believe that Nick Clegg will not oppose the proposal to end the “council house for life” policy.
Mr Cameron and Mr Shapps insist that while current tenants wouldn't be affected, radical action is needed to help the 1.8 million people on the waiting list for a council home.