A Conservative Party think tank, the Public Services Improvement Policy Group, will suggest in a report out today that council and housing association tenants could get state aid to help buy a home, to transform ‘dead end ghettos’. Payments worth up to 10 per cent of the value of the rented home would be limited to well-behaved tenants who have held their tenancy for at least five years. If the tenants left the social rented sector they would receive their share as a cash payment towards their first property.
It’s a big news day for the Tories all round. Boris Johnson launched his bid for London Mayor last night amid much fanfare, a few jokes, and a rendition of The Clash’s ‘London Calling’. Calling the quality and price of housing ‘the single biggest issue’ for Londoners he announced his plan to put housing at the top of his agenda and pledged to build 36,000 homes in London a year – the types of homes British families want – saying he did not understand the ‘Ceausecu-esque obsession with building rabbit-hutch dwellings’.
Not to be out-done, Gordon Brown announced the government would embrace ‘a new kind of politics’ yesterday. He plans to involve opposition MPs, and use ‘citizen juries’ in a ‘citizen summit’, and has already recruited one Lib-Dem and two Tory MPs to lead three government reviews on security, children’s disabilities and rural housing. ‘The depths of our new concerns cannot be met by the shallowness of an old-style politics’ he said.
And finally, a study has found that ‘rowdy youths’ generate the most complaints about antisocial behaviour (ASB) from tenants living on estates. The study for Housing Corporation confirms that noise is the commonest trigger for ASB, followed by verbal abuse and youth nuisance. Only a small proportion of complaints come from serious ASB such as vandalism, violence or harassment. Housing associations are making more use of ASB orders, injunctions, possession actions or demotion orders to tackle the problem, with 79 per cent of them making use of at least one of the four main legal powers.