The Coalition government has scrapped regional social housing building targets and planning with immediate effect from July 2010. This effectively stops public sector build of 85,000 homes and places an estimated 100,000 construction jobs at risk.
This will mean the lowest level of social housing build in Britain for over 100 years, at a time when 4.5 million people are on housing waiting lists and an estimated 2.5 million live in overcrowded or unsanitary conditions. The reduction in public sector building will drive provision into private-sector build and greater expansion of private landlords and their buy-to-let enrichment schemes.
In addition to manipulating social and council house building, Cameron has announced his intention to strip council house dwellers of their right to tenure. In other words, you will not be able to stay in your council home for life but for limited five- or ten-year tenancy agreements.
What this really is about is politically clearing council estates which don’t vote Tory – a re-run of the clearances practised by Wandsworth in the 1980s. It is about manipulating voting patterns by changing the composition of constituencies so as to ensure built-in Tory majorities. This will dispossess millions of people who either cannot or do not want to buy their council property, depriving them of shelter and security.