Secure tenants beware

I have heard that Tower Hamlets Homes is planning a ‘consultation’ on Secure Tenancies. As far as I know, the legislature about secure tenancies is determined by central government. Government sets the rules about bedroom tax and tenancy transfer rights.

But the fact that Councillor Danny Hassell has now been moved to become Council Cabinet member for Housing, means there is trouble ahead.

Danny Hassell was the hard man who emotionlessly moved school closures when he was in charge of education. He is going to do the same thing with council housing in that new post.

Photo by cottonbro on

shifting responsibility

Look at it at very basic principles. The Conservative government wants to get rid of any government led service provision and shift the responsibilities for everything onto the private individual.

That principle is what led to a recent tribunal decision whereby leaseholders of a block of flats lost and have to foot the bill for £3.000.000 worth of cladding removal, fire patrols and developers legal fees.

photo of green leaf potted plants on window and stand

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

It is simply this principle of transferring everything from government to individuals, the principle of personal freedom and less taxes for all, that makes the indivduals pay.

Previously and post-war we had council estates, provided by local authorities, maintained and paid for and rented out.

I remember on our estate, the first flats for sale went for £5.000 for a 2 bedroom flat. Crazy prices. After that prices went gradually up to £5.000 for a 3-bedroom flat and now the prices are at £300.000 and rising for small flats.

But the difference is that every leaseholder is still responsible or all the costs of the block.

When I go to a residents meeting, most attendees are leaseholders and proud to be so but all are complaining about their costs. Apparently most of our Labour councillors are also all leaseholders of flats. So there is little difference in the Labour and Conservative activities.

It used to be Labour pro council housing and pro renting out. Now it’s all a mish-mash of ill-thought out policies and practises.

It simply is not working and people are deeply unhappy about the whole situation.

Nobody seems to practise what they preach anymore. There are no clear lines.

Obviously the sale of council flats has made living more expensive for everyone and raised the stress-levels. So why do it?


minimalist photography of white and gray condominium

Photo by Luis Quintero on

In Germany for housing, the percentage cost of income is 27% and in Britain its 40%. Additionally there is a corrolation in that the higher the percentage of home-ownership, the higher is the amount of unemployment.

The combination of home ownership with a lack of homes for rent pushes up the housing cost and increases immobility. It increases the cost of living and reduces the quality of life through a need to have long commutes to work through public transport because home owners are stuck in their homes and have to commute to work. Especially the sale of many council flats increased social immobility and increased the cost of housing and reduced the availability of homes for rent.

In Britain renters stay in their homes for about 4 years and in Germany for around 11 years.

Britain is obsessed with home ownership.

Additionally real wages have fallen by 6%.

Yet the government created this red herring Brexit that is supposed to solve all the problems. One of the new Conservative candidates, Dominic Raab, threatens to shut down parliament to circumvent the democratic process and create a no-deal Brexit. Brace yourselves.

Britain is getting poorer under this government.

Source Politics Live, 6/6/19

BBC ‘High rents make young people less mobile’

BBC Through the wealth gap, the proportion of second home-ownership amongst the wealthiest has risen, whilst the average person is kept out of homeownership.


Alan Walters

I am very sorry to hear that Alan Walters, the chair of Defend Council Housing has suddenly passed away. Alan Walters was the chair of the organisation, which I supported before I knew that people in housing need now have a better choice of accommodation.
Homeless persons still have to be housed, but instead of getting council flats, councils how find them private accommodation for 3 times or more the rent it would cost in a council flat. Councils even pay the deposit.
Who pays for this its the tax payer.
Incidentally, at the same time as this Labour government brought us the biggest recession ever, it drives privatisation when the economy is in decline, housing repossession are at record levels and house prices sink.
It would have been much more sensible to tie privatisation to the GDP and not drive privatisation when the economy is down.
Privatisation only works when the economy is up and growing, which it doesn’t right now for various reasons.
Please see here the Defend Council Housing calculator. The lack of funding for council housing has artificially driven private rents up. Councils pay around £320 rent per week to find a homeless person a 2 bed-room flat. This 2 bed flat would cost £70 per week the most as council flat.
Unfortunately I blame the sell off of council flats and I think this is the worst decision that was ever made. It may have looked at good idea at the time because the economy was growing and it looked promising but it doesn’t look promising now.
We now see an increased shortage of housing and families have nowhere to go cheaply. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for people on low incomes to start a family and find somewhere to live.
What we have seen is an increasing privatisation of services like housing, health and now even the Post Office but the banks have gone broke and banks are now the ones who are subsidised by the state.
Why should banks be state owned and services like housing, health and postal services be private?
We are constantly encouraged to borrow more again, when borrowing brought us into this trouble in the first place.
I think the financial world turned on its head.
Businesses and organisations won’t have any chance or choice in the matter, they have to opt for private finance, which will make the business depending on the finance decisions of the lender or third sector.
The housing standards of the third sector are lower than those of the social housing criteria. The recent City Pride tower block to be built in Tower Hamlets, prides itself for being expensive to buy but rooms being too small for social housing needs. A little puzzling that the rich should pay more for less room.
I think in Japan they sell cupboards, the size of a bunk bed, the shape of things to come for those who can afford it.
But the organisational standards for private enterprise are most likely higher and if that is coupled with schooling we should see an improvement in standards overall. I have seen the dialectic between the social and private housing sector as being one of actual need and the private housing sector lingers around waiting to discriminate poor stand ins whom they now accept to earn some money in between, and they wait for the economy to pick up so that they can become more selective in choice of tenants.
One must drive on the will to achieve that is for sure and as much as I support Council Housing I would also insist on a need for quality control of those who use the system.
Looking at it in financial terms how much it costs to build a block of flats for council rent, maintain it and provide secondary services provision compared with the cost of renting out per week, I do not know I would have to ask the statistics.
Practise rules Alan Walter’s efforts fruitless because the need for housing is now so imminent that preferences are given to mothers with children or parents with children and that young couples without kids have a problem to get a place,  but I suppose seeking solace in Tax credits and housing benefits will resolve many problems and the private housing sector is always willing to rent out to make ends meet.
All in all the Defend Council Housing is a bit of a Dinasaur that needs to be laid to rest.

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