As it stands at the moment, if you are lucky enough to be allocated a council house it’s yours for life. They can even be handed down to your children. The idea, of course, being to provide council tenants with long term security. But, with so many people desperately in need waiting years to get a property, is the house for life principle sustainable?
As a general rule I’m not in favour of changes that seek to erode part of the protection offered by the welfare state but surely if your circumstances change for the better and you become more able to support yourself you would expect to see a reduction in the benefits you receive even if one of them was your council house.
I’m not suggesting you throw people out at a moments notice but it seems fair to review tenants circumstances periodically, say every five years, and if their need for council housing is no longer as great (maybe they were now in well paid work or all their kids had left home) they could be supported to find alternative accommodation and their council house reallocated to whoever needed it most.
This was proposed by Cameron back in 2010 (although the government have been pretty quiet on this since) and it’s not often you’ll find me agreeing with him on welfare reform. I realise this is controversial but with council houses such a scarce resource and many people, especially young families, unable to find decent accommodation don’t we need to consider it?
Am I being unfair? Is this right more fundamental than I realise? I’d love to hear your thoughts.