Find a job or lose your council house, Labour tells out of work tenants
With very little Council owned social housing remaining only the very poorest homeless families with children qualify...
People living in social housing should be expected to hunt for work as a condition of their tenancy, the new housing minister will propose today.
Caroline Flint wants unemployed tenants living on council estates to take part in 'skills audits' to make it easier to find them suitable jobs.
The proposals would see job centres opening on the estates themselves and some being run by the private sector. Her aim is to try and reduce the number of people without work who live in social housing. At present half of council tenants are without work, twice the national average, and nearly 75 per cent of social tenants under the age of 25 are unemployed.
The new 'commitment contracts' would initially apply to new council tenants only, but Miss Flint said they could be extended to existing tenants.
It is thought to be the first time the Government has proposed granting social housing conditional to looking for a job.
The plans could affect around a million people, though Miss Flint stressed the tenancy agreements would not apply to those incapable of work.
Of the 4.6 million people living in social housing in Britain, about 2.6 million are of working age, with 1.4 million out of work.….
Shadow housing minister Grant Shapps said the idea was "meaningless" as it could not be legally enforced.
Half of all households paid for by benefits are without work, the Hills report Ends and Means: The Future Roles of Social Housing in England, published last February showed.
Many of these are under-25.
Ms Flint will discuss the issue in a speech at the Fabian Society on Tuesday, through which it is thought she hopes to start a debate on a "something for something" culture.
She told the Guardian: "It would be a big change of culture from the time when the council handed someone the keys and forgot about them for 30 years.
"The question we should ask of new tenants is what commitment they will make to improve their skills, find work and take the support that is available."
What is being proposed would destroy families and communities and add to the thousands who are already homeless
Shelter chief executive Adam Sampson.….
Ms Flint also wants to explore how to encourage shared equity schemes as a way of helping those in social housing to find a way into home ownership. Only 150,000 people have so far taken up this option since 1991.
Flint also vowed to press ahead with the widely criticised Home Information Packs, saying there was no sign they were having a depressing effect on house prices.
On the subject of housing affordability, she said she planned further talks with the Council of Mortgage Lenders on the possibility of creating more sustainable fixed, long-term mortgages. "Too many young families," she said, "are dependent on the Bank of Mum and Dad to get their foot on the property ladder since they cannot get a mortgage they can afford."
Despite the current slowdown in prices the plans to build an extra 3m homes by 2020 were not in jeopardy.
"The market will move on and we will need to meet the demand for housing. For decades we have not built enough homes," she said.