Grant Shapps MP, housing minister, announced a new Government consultation on plans for a shake up of the housing allocation policy on 5 January this year, as described in our article on the subject which can be found here.
His comments included:
‘For years the system for social housing has been associated with injustice – where rewards are reaped for those who know how to play the system best.
‘Despite this terrible image a lazy consensus in social housing has ensured that, for an entire generation, no-one has bothered to do anything about it.’
Unfortunately for him, leading members of housing associations have not taken kindly to his choice words and have spoken out against him, claiming there is little evidence of his purported ‘injustice’ in the social housing system.
Tom Murtha, CEO of 32,000 home housing association Midland Heart, has been foremost among his critics. He has reportedly commented:
“I am appalled that Mr Shapps can suggest that we have been complacent in the sector and that the system creates injustice. I am not aware of any evidence that supports this. In fact, the evidence that exists suggests the contrary.
“The vast majority of people living in social housing are decent people striving to live positive lives, often in difficult circumstances. Mr Shapps’ comments are an insult to these people and their families.
“Our homes are already let to those who most need them, and we work closely with our customers to develop their ambitions to transform their lives and communities with some truly inspiring outcomes. I am concerned that the Minister does not appear to recognise this and feels we need new guidance.
“Our job is to house some of the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society whatever their status and wherever they come from.
“This seems to be another example of policy based upon hearsay and conjecture”.
It remains to be seen whether the manner the consultation was put forward will have a further affect on the response it gains with the wider public and industry professionals alike.