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!!