Half Baked Policy Exchange Proposal to Evict Widows and Widowers from Council Housing

The Policy Exchange has been getting headlines today from a report which proposes to sell off council houses in ‘expensive’ areas and build it in ‘cheaper’ areas.

But as is typical from everything Alex Morton produces it is half baked poorly researched crap based on false premises.

For example he claims.

We would only access this £159 billion slowly over time, as we are proposing
that this stock is sold off as it becomes vacant. Since 2005/6 the social housing
stock has had a vacancy rate of between 6–7% a year across England (the
rate at which stock ‘turnover’ occurs). This rate includes both voluntary
moves and deaths. However, expensive social housing is likely to have a lower
turnover rate. Tenants are less likely to leave desirable properties or properties
in desirable areas, because the private sector in these areas will be relatively
expensive. For example, London, where private housing is very expensive, had
a turnover of 3.5% a year from 2005/6 onward.  Both London and the UK
had higher social housing turnover rates between 1990 and 2005/6. London’s
annual turnover rate ran at 5–6% for these years.

However this figure for the turnover rate between tenants includes where the tenancy is transferred to a surviving widow or widower or carer.  There can only ever be one succession to a council tenancy. In situations where the original tenancy was a joint tenancy and one of the original tenants has died, the surviving joint tenant will have taken over the tenancy by succession. For secure council tenancies created after April 1st 2012 there is no right of a family member to succeed, unless the tenancy agreement allows for it.

The mistake by the Policy Exchange is not realising that succession tenancies count as new tenancies in the turnover statistics.

I know of no statistics for turnover of successor tenancies but it is bound to reduce the numbers quoted, that is unless, if the policy Exchange are to defend their figures, they are proposing  to abolish the property and inheritance rights of surviving tenants meaning that private householders could pass on tenancies but social tenants could not, something which would almost certainly breach the right to property provisions of the european convention on human rights.

How curious to see a conservative think tank, and Grant Shapps, proposing to reduce the property rights based on wealth and wealth alone.