Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Another daft government proposal that will never be implemented

Daily Telegraph: 'Idle' jobless could be denied council home

The government has this hilarious habit. Every time attention is drawn to some particular problem, a minister will propose a solution to the idea that will get media attention. Of course, these solutions are always completely unworkeable and would be disastrous if they were implemented. However, that is not the point. It is 'spin', designed to re-assure gullible readers of newspapers.

On the face of it, it might seem a good idea to threaten unemployed people with being denied social housing. However, it seems unlikely that such a sanction could be used.

Local government have a legal duty to provide housing to families, so any threat of making the unemployed lose their councl houses would be illegal. According to the Telegraph the government might modify this legal duty to make this sanction lawful. But then what would happen? Would they house these families in expensive temporary accomodation? Or would they leave them to sleep on the streets? Would they put their children in foster care?

In case anybody accuses me of being a Left-wing 'do-gooder' who reads the Guardian, I will point out that today's editorial in the Right-wing Daily Telegraph agreed with me that this proposed policy is absolute nonsense.

If you want people to get jobs, making them homeless is not a very good way of going about it. I agree with the charity Shelter, that this proposal is a return to Victorian workhouses. You can read the Shelter statement on the proposal here.

'Any scheme that attempts to force people back to work by threatening them with homelessness will be an expensive, bureaucratic nightmare and cost the taxpayer much more than it would save.'


Palm boy said...

"If you want people to get jobs, making them homeless is not a very good way of going about it."

So obviously true, I had to laugh.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Yes, that is why social housing is so important in combating homelessness and social deprivation.

Jonathan Hunt said...

This sort of tallies with my comment on social housing before.

I don't think it should be used as a stick but as a carrot. So if you are young, you get a trade, earn a living, but can't afford a place, they should make you one BECAUSE you are a hardworking person.

Then you can pay rent, or part-rent part buy, and take some pride in your home and community.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Jonathan, your comment would suggest that you are not advocating a reduction in the availability of basic council housing, but rather advocating a third class of subsidised housing to those who could afford it.

That is a good idea.

There would be a question though, of whether such a policy woud not reduce available council housing to those who needed it and were unable to get onto your subsidised housing.

Every Blessing in Christ