Row over proposed change to tenancies
A war of words broke out in the town hall last week over Crawley Borough Council’s social housing tenancy strategy.
Conservative councillors were accused of being “nasty” and “attacking the poorest people in society” while they in turn accused members of the Labour Group of “scaremongering”.
Under the Localism Act 2011, the council has a duty to prepare and publish a strategy giving guidance to providers of social housing across the borough about issues such as the type of tenancy they could provide and rent levels they could set.
During a meeting of the full council on Wednesday (October 24), Labour councillors expressed concern about the proposed loss of lifetime tenancies in favour of renewable tenancies which would be reviewed every few years.
The strategy would allow those with greater need to be given social housing.
It would allow tenants to downgrade to a smaller homer and offer assistance to those whose circumstances had improved to such an extent that they could afford to move into the private sector.
It would also allow landlords greater powers to end the tenancies of antisocial householders.
But, during the meeting, Labour councillors insisted the strategy would have a negative impact on the more vulnerable members of society.
Cllr Chris Mullins (Lab, Gossops Green) said: “In all the years I’ve been a councillor, I never thought I would see this sort of policy. It never occurred to me that we would be talking about a thing like this.
“I think this is a nasty strategy from a nasty government.
“Tory members have the chance to say ‘we’re not a nasty party, it’s the government, we’re not a part of it’. This is attacking the poorest people in our society.”
Cllr Richard Burrett (Con, Pound Hill North) urged his fellow councillors to read the strategy properly before passing comment.
He added: “What is made clear is it’s guidance. None of it is set down in tablets of stone. The vast majority of tenancies would be renewed after five years.”
Cllr Duncan Crow (Con, Furnace Green) criticised Labour members for “scare-mongering”.
He added: “There are ways to improve things and we must not shy away from that.”
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Weather for Crawley
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 11 C
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