A fairer future or no future for social housing?

We’ve now had a few days to come to terms with the content of Local Decisions: a fairer future for social housing, the Coalition government’s consultation paper (CP) on social housing reform. The response has varied from the broadly positive to the outright condemnatory. In prefacing his comments on the CP last week Dave over at Nearly Legal was moved to invoke the term “cataclysmic”. He’s a chap with a good grasp of these matters. So I have been reflecting on whether I’d assess the proposals in similarly vivid terms.

Underpinning the need for reform, from the Coalition’s perspective, is a perception that there is unprecedented demand for social housing and those who currently benefit from access to it are not necessarily those who most “need” it. Waiting lists for social housing have increased dramatically over the last decade to close to 2 million and there are many thousands of tenants living in overcrowded accommodation. Yet at the same time there are hundreds of thousands of tenants “under-occupying” social housing properties – living in properties with more bedrooms than they are deemed to “need”. So the Coalition argues that something has to change to realise more fully the potential of this national asset. Read more of this post