Long-term tenancy due to be scrapped

News story
News story

WIGAN representatives have reacted with fury about Government plans to limit long-term agreements for council house tenants.

The new policy will see new tenants reapplying for their properties every two to five years.

It has led to fears that thousands of families will be denied rights to a stable home.

Norma Pennington, a former secretary of Norley Hall Tenants and Residents Association said she was “disgusted” by the plans.

The 75-year-old, who has lived in the same council house for more than 50 years, said: “There would be no incentive for new tenants to improve their homes because they would be worried of being thrown out after a couple of years.

“This Government that we’ve got is intent on attacking the working classes, the bedroom tax and now this.”

Mrs Pennington also called on Labour MPs to fight the plans as they go through Parliament.

Adding: “I think it would be very unfair (for new tenants). I hope our MPs can stand up to it.”

The new measures would not apply to existing council house tenants but would apply to children who have had “homes for life” properties passed down from relatives.

Makerfield Labour MP Yvonne Fovargue told the Evening Post: “Ministers are to deny millions a stable home causing unwanted anxiety and stress for tenants across the borough and this will do little to build stable communities. This Government treats houses as a commodity when in reality they are family homes.

“The Tories are systematically eroding the social housing base in this country and the proposed shorter term tenancies will not address their failure to build homes for rent for working people.”

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “It’s only right that tenancies are reviewed after several years, to identify whether circumstances of tenants have changed.

“This is about ensuring we make the best use of social of social housing based on need and income. It only applies to new tenancies.”

Wigan borough has 22,000 council houses managed by the arm’s length management organisation Wigan and Leigh Homes.

Labour’s shadow housing minister John Healey said: “People will be astonished that ministers are legislating to deny families a stable home.

“This will cause worry and upheaval for tenants and break up communities.”

The plans have been included as an amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill that is currently going through Parliament.

In an explanatory note to the bill, Brandon Lewis, the housing minister, said: “This amendment phases out lifetime tenancies.”