Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Betts slams Lib Dem Minister on security of tenure

Clive Betts MP [Sheffield South East] today said that LibDem Communities’ Minister’s proposals to remove security of tenure for existing tenants were disgraceful.

During discussions on the Localism Bill yesterday, Liberal Democrat Communities Minister Andrew Stunell suggested discretion on retaining security of tenure when existing tenants move home ‘should be available to landlords’.

Clive Betts said today
“I am opposed in principle to the Tory-led coalition’s proposals to remove security of tenure from tenants. But, until now, the Housing Minister Grant Shapps has consistently promised that the proposals would not remove security of tenure from existing tenants. Now, it is clear that this promise is going to be broken.

This is a double whammy particularly for elderly tenants. They are already facing cuts in their housing benefit to try to force them to move to a smaller home. But now they are being told that if they move, they will lose their security of tenure which could lead to their new smaller home simply being taken off them.”

Clive Betts continued:
“This is absolutely disgraceful. Across the city, we have elderly tenants who have lived in the same home for 40 years or more. They’ve paid their rent on time. They’ve always maintained their homes and gardens. They’ve brought up their families there. Despite their children having grown up and moved on, they still like to have the room for their children and grand-children to stay.

But, if they are in receipt of housing benefit – as many are because, despite working all their lives, they only have a small private pension – they are being forced financially to move to a smaller home.

But now, this Liberal Democrat Minister is telling them that if they do move, they will lose their security of tenure.”

Clive Betts continued:
“But this policy will also hit those elderly people who do want to move to somewhere smaller. They’re being told “Move if you like, but we’re not going to give you any security so that you can stay in your new home.

As well as being monstrous, this proposal is counter-productive. It will dissuade elderly people from moving to a smaller home which would free up a house for a young family.

It is absolutely clear that the Government is hell-bent on maximising rents for landlords at the expense of stable communities.”