Minister outlines housing reforms

Minister outlines housing reforms

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Grant Shapps said new council tenants in England will not necessarily keep their homes for life

New council and social housing tenants in England will not necessarily keep their homes for life, housing minister Grant Shapps has said.

He said normal tenancy agreements would be for five, 10, 20 years or even a lifetime, but local organisations should have the freedom to see what worked in their areas.

He is expected to outline the details of his proposals to MPs.

Mr Shapps stressed that his proposals would not affect existing tenants. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We need to start to resolve some of the problems, build more homes and actually help people.

“What we are creating is a new form of tenancy and affordable rent which is going to be significantly more protected than the private rented sector. There’s no reason why a home in future should always be the home for life. You don’t get that in the private sector.”

He went on: “The norm is very likely to be quite a significant-length tenancy, five, 10, 20 years or a lifetime.” The most vulnerable will be protected under the reforms, he said.

Mr Shapps spoke of the need for reform of the system to help an estimated five million people on the waiting list for social housing.

“The need for reform is just overwhelming, there has been a sort of… a lazy consensus in this country which has led to fewer affordable homes being created,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“A system where the waiting lists have just doubled over the last 13 years and people are just sitting back and saying ‘well, let’s have more of the same’. If we do, we will have waiting lists double again.”

Prime Minister David Cameron has already said he wants an end to council tenancies for life and the introduction of fixed-term contracts of “five or 10 years”.

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