Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister, aims to clamp down on abuse of the council and housing association sectors which is estimated to cost taxpayers between £5 billion and £10 billion a year.
Last night he said the current system was a “scandal” which the coalition was determined to end. Ministers are expected to launch two new consultations within weeks ahead of possible legislation – with money saved going toward building new social housing.
Currently it is not an offence to sublet a council house – a loophole which allows some tenants who have moved out and live in private homes to make thousands of pounds in rent above the figure they are charged by local authorities.
So, currently the maximum penalty for being found out is to lose the council tenancy. In future it\’ll some form of fraud.
There\’s also to be the \”Bob Crow clause\” whereby those with high incomes will have to pay market rents.
They both seem to be blitheringly obvious things to do (indeed, I have long argued that all \”social\” tenancies should be at market rent. People who can\’t afford them get HB for exactly as long as they can\’t afford them and no more).
But what interests is, well, obviously there are going to be people who will argue against this. I mean, obviously there will be, this is a Tory Government after all.
The thing is, will any of them be able to find arguments that don\’t have us all bursting out laughing at their absurdity?