Another year, another free hit for the Tories

My New Year’s Day slumbers were interrupted by the unwelcome sound of Grant Shapps’ voice on the BBC TV News.

The topics were two previously announced plans to make subletting by social tenants a criminal offence and to make high earning social tenants pay more in rent.  This gave Shapps the chance to say that hardworking taxpayers pay billions for social housing and it should only go to those that really need it.  Neither proposal is likely to achieve this but no Labour spokesperson was interviewed to put the alternative case.

But what interested me was the introduction to the piece said that there were ‘new government plans’ and that they were ’proposals outlined today’.  ‘Ministers are announcing a crackdown’.  So you would expect that some kind of statement had been put out by CLG, a consultation paper or whatever.  But nothing appears on the website, no statement or press release, and it is clear that nothing new was being announced at all.  It may have been a quiet news day but this was just a free hit for the Tory housing Minster.

Another complaint will wing its way to the BBC, but I suspect it will have as little effect as all the previous ones.

Another year, another easy ride for a Minister.  Is it too much to hope for that Shapps’ policies will occasionally attract intelligent and critical questioning?

Welcome to 2012!!

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2 Responses to Another year, another free hit for the Tories

  1. andy crowe says:

    And the Minister has made yet another cheap shot at council and housing association tenants, claiming that ‘rewards are reaped for those who know how to play the system best’. Now we all know that there are people who play the system in every field (£17 billion of tax evasion springs to mind). But we also know that the majority of tenants are hard working, but too low paid or too old to own a home of their own.

    We think it is about time that we start to hold the Minister to account for what he has delivered rather than what he says. He’s been promising to ‘crack down’ on ‘scandals’ and ‘lazy consensuses’ for years now. We know that changes take time to bed in and new homes don’t appear overnight. We don’t know the answers to all of them and of course would be delighted if, in spite of our fears, the results are positive. We’re sending off our questions to our open government and encourage all of our readers and tweeters to do the same…every year until things improve.

    Dear Minister,

    1. You said that the new homes bonus ‘will provide a “powerful” incentive for councils to back new developments’. How many Councils have increased the number of homes they plan to build and how many have reduced the number in their local plans since the Coalition came to power?

    2. In May 2008 you said that ‘it would not have been possible to have imagined a serious attempt to tackle homelessness by the Conservatives. How many families became homeless in 2008 and how many in 2011? How many were in B&B in May 2008 and how many now?

    3. In 2008 you said that you were going to ‘sort out’ the out of control housing benefit bill. How much was the bill in January 2008 and how much is it now?

    4. In 2009 you aimed to ‘green up every home in the UK’. How many homes did you green up in 2011 and how many remain needing greening up?

    5. In 2009 you said ‘we need to get the country building again’. How many homes were completed in 2009 and how many were completed in 2011?

    6. In 2009 you said that the (last) government ‘have utterly failed to tackle the glut of empty homes we have sitting empty while families are desperate for a roof over their heads.’ How many homes in the public and private sectors were empty for more than 6 months in 2009 and how many now?

    7. In 2009 you stated that ‘successful communities are built on opportunity for all in housing, employment and a thriving local economy. We believe that affordability of housing is the key to that opportunity.’ What is the average entry level age and income for first time buyers in the Solent area now compared with 2009?

    8. In 2009 you said that Local Housing Trusts ‘will kickstart a rural revolution, allowing villagers across the country to become the masters of their own destiny’. How many homes were completed by Local Housing Trusts by 2009 and how many in 2011?

    9. You said that it was better to reduce the regulation of landlords but that you are ‘putting councils on alert to use the range of powers already at their disposal to make sure tenants are properly protected’. How many complaints did Shelter receive about bad landlords in 2009 compared with 2011?

    10. For all of the above, what outcomes would you use to show that you have succeeded as a Housing Minister and government by the time of the next election?

  2. efgd says:

    Yep it is too much to hope for. All three major parties are exactly the same now. I have not heard or read one different opinion or argument from Clegg (well he would not be different from Cameron would he) nor Ed Miliband (the most ineffectual Labour Party leader ever as far as I can see). Nor from their underlings; they have to tow the party line or get told off and or demoted to the broom cupboard(s) of nowhere land. Lets be honest, we have one political party in parliament, and that is the NU-Cons, who replaced NU-Labour.

    Only Caroline Lucas said anything different from the Yobs from the YaHo classes. Outside of parliament Sean Gabb was the other voice, Libertarian, that was different from the sheep in Westminster. Tiring and frustrating times for normal working folks indeed.

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