Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Unemployed to Stay Homeless.

with 29 comments

The Daily Telegraph reports – here ,

“People who are employed or are actively seeking work will take priority, ministers are to announce.

In a major shift in policy, Coalition ministers want to stop those who are hard-working being disadvantaged when social housing is allocated.

The move was attacked by campaigners last night for threatening the vulnerable. But it comes just days after Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, proposed giving council housing to those who deserve it rather than those who want “something for nothing” and do not put anything back into their communities.

Grant Shapps, the housing minister, said that he will present local authorities with a new “allocation policy” document. It will give much greater freedom to councils to decide who they put at the top of housing queues.

He said the present allocation policy guidance was too rigid and stacked against people who aspire and who work hard. Mr Shapps said: “Up until now, access to council housing has too often been blocked for hard-working families who do the right thing.

“When someone strives hard to hold down a job, I simply don’t see why this should count against them when it comes to their housing. That’s why I plan to change the system of allocating homes to allow councils to actively support those in work, as well as continuing their duty to look after the most vulnerable in society.”

Under the revised policy, someone who has a job and has held it for two years, would be given more points to rise up the housing queue. Those who are unemployed and show little inclination to find a job (how this can be proved we don’t know – AC) would drop down the queue.

It is the latest attempt by the Coalition to tackle what ministers believe is an acute unfairness in the way council housing is allocated. Mr Shapps has already announced that he intends to stop anyone earning more than £100,000   from staying in their council home unless they pay a proper market rent,   rather than a subsidised one.

Some councils are already trying to bring in the policy of rewarding those who   have jobs in a bid to bring down housing benefit bills.

In Manchester, people who volunteer (for what? AC)  or who work or have been good tenants in   the past are given priority in council housing allocation.

In London, Newham council is bringing in a similar scheme.

Westminster Council is following suit by prioritising those with jobs and   allowing them to leapfrog those who are unemployed, a system that was used   in the heyday of council housing in the 1950s.

Alastair Murray, deputy director for Housing Justice, said: “Our concern is   that housing is a basic human right and shouldn’t be contingent on someone’s   capacity to earn a living.

“Quite a lot of homeless people do work but the kind of work they are able to   do is quite unstable so they may not be eligible.

“There is a danger of stigmatising people who are already vulnerable.””


You can’t help feeling that British politicians seem to be dreaming of a revival of the  days of ‘model workers’ housing, like Port Sunlight.

………………Dad comes home from a hard day’s work installing solar panels to tend a row of runner beans in his cottage garden. A golden retriever stands at his side.  Apple-cheeked Mum, fresh from her Call Centre, greets her well-scrubbed children, as they do homework for their Free School Business Studies course.  There is a well-deserved half pint of mild (2,9% alcohol) in the fridge, and 2 litres of Dutchy of Cornwell Dandelion and Burdock. As they sit down to the meal (selected from the ‘5 a day’ portions of meat and veg)  together the family talk about the Community Project. Sponsored by Tesco and the Daily Express, they help out with the volunteers who’ve replaced the local Hospital Canteen staff. At that moment Emma Harrison drops in to see how they’re getting on……

This won’t bleeding happen. 


Update: Harpy on Attacks on the Unemployed – here.


Written by Andrew Coates

September 29, 2011 at 10:33 am

29 Responses

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  1. Is there such a thing as ‘work’? Politicians of all persuasions talk a lot about ‘hard work’ but never ‘work’. ‘Hard work’ being where you do two peoples jobs for the price of one and thus deprive someone of the opportunity of employment. Though just like slave labour, its good for employers.

    On a second point Newham and Manchester, the two councils whose socially divisive housing policy is so applauded, just happened to be two who experienced the worst of the riots. How exactly is this policy going to promote social cohesion? I’ve got a feeling that if you don’t spend on housing, you end up spending twice as much on prisons.


    September 29, 2011 at 12:56 pm

  2. The prioritisation of housing won’t change unless there is a sea change in society. Priority, despite what the daily mail thinks, is based on need. So when a brown skinned family is given housing over a white skinned family it’s because their need is greater. This unfortunately is mana from heaven for the likes of the right wing, but on the ground councils are going to be hard pressed to do things differently. It’s just posturing. Though given how the government hates the unemployed and is bent on perpetuating the myth of scoungers they will certainly like to be seen, at least, to do something. One more step in the race to the bottom.


    September 29, 2011 at 3:53 pm

  3. We get it already…. “work pays”

    This plan to shift a large percentage of those housed in council homes as a punishment whilst allowing employed people VIP fast-tracked priority…. and it seems, a large number of the employed who will be able to take advantage of this, will be those who should not be seeking council homes anyway but private rented accomodation or a mortgage.

    The riots where 800% of those taking part were unemployed is the motivation behind this, just like the councils forcing families out of their homes just on the actions of one person, this is indeed a pre-emptive technique form of punishment for a crime or wrong doing that hasn’t happened.

    Of course this is nothing less than yet another anti-poor policy dictated from out of touch middle classes – Labour who remain offset from its roots snubbing the lower-end working classes headed by a tory school boy on work experience… has left a lot to be desired.

    Scrap the party political system with just one party named “scum” – its direct political competition of the same political ideologies – both Labour and Conservatives are 90% identical policies, just they are worded differently and marketed differently. Both sides disagree with the other… before later doing a u-turn with striking similarities between them.

    Work Programme

    September 29, 2011 at 4:36 pm

  4. Everyone. Kalityah Franklin a disability campaigner got a question for ed. M he was handbagged good and proper regarding his rhetorric.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdbT0cwH7Zc&feature=colike


    September 30, 2011 at 9:48 am

    • Miliband does not come out well from his reply to her.

      Andrew Coates

      September 30, 2011 at 11:36 am

      • He just sounds like a clone of David Cameron on the video with Ms Franklin,totally interchangeable.


        September 30, 2011 at 1:46 pm

  5. Here’s some cheery news.


    Not surprising though, is it.


    October 1, 2011 at 9:57 am

      • I won’t read the full report as doing so will make me want to kill myself I should think. These people are clearly twunts. I sent them a shitty email for their trouble. I’m sure it will amuse them.


        October 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    • Making sure that the unemployed spend the whole day looking for work – pathetic as it is – could only be enforced by putting people in detention centres under surveillance.

      There will not be enough jobs to occupy people during their period of imprisonment. For example, Ipswich Evening Star this week had about 3-4 pages of ads – a handful of posts on each.

      People will get bored and disatisfied at staring at computer screens, sitting around doing nothing after they’ve completed the meagre application forms that they can find, and being shouted at by the Guards.

      It is a recipe for some serious detainee riots.

      Andrew Coates

      October 1, 2011 at 10:38 am

      • there’s no way that would even work. The jobcentres are oversubscribed as it is with people justattending for a ten minute appointment. Making them spend all day there is just… words fail me. I shoudl think the staff won’t be in favour either. Who’s gouing to reimburse travel costs or lunch?


        October 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm

  6. Its a fantastic statement an sounds like much needed sanity to me. For too long those who work have been punished. Hope its not just spin an they have the will to see it through !


    October 13, 2011 at 4:44 pm

  7. Sounds like much needed sanity too me. Homes for people who work. Great 😀 . Hope they have the bottle to follow it through. For too long people who work have been most punished. I pray this is not just empty spin.


    October 13, 2011 at 4:49 pm

  8. Cathy Come Home’s lesson will soon be learned again

    There is no cheap answer to housing but as rent gets more out of reach the state has to find ways for all to afford a home

    Ken Loach’s Cathy Come Home at the British Film Institute last week brought tears to many eyes, including my own. The story of a young couple descending with their babies into increasingly squalid homes and hostels until losing their children to care shocked a generation 45 years ago. It so shook the conscience of the time that punitive hostels were shut and councils obliged to house families and anyone vulnerable. New campaign groups Shelter and Crisis kept housing near the top of the political agenda, demanding decent homes. But this government is in the process of demolishing most of the protections brought in then.

    This is an odd time to undermine housing security, weaken council tenancies and cut housing benefit, while raising social rents. For the first time in decades, housing is soaring up the political agenda as lack of anywhere affordable to live reaches a crisis point for children of the middle classes, for graduates, for people in their 30s. The average age for a first-time buyer is now 37, for anyone without parental help for a deposit. Fewer home-owning parents can help children now deposits are so high. Home ownership has fallen over the last eight years, projected to be just 61% in 10 years. Why else would David Cameron feel obliged to proclaim “a new Tory housing revolution”? He compares himself to Harold Macmillan, yet his plans at best are projected to produce 170,000 affordable homes over five years: he’s no Macmillan. The backlog of demand will grow.

    This week’s Shelter report found average private rents were now beyond the reach of ordinary working families in 55% of English authorities, costing well over a third of their income, while energy prices rocket too. With mortgages unavailable and deposits too high, there are one million more private tenants than five years ago. (Jon Snow found some renting half-sheds for £40 a week). Households renting privately are overtaking the number of social tenants. Private tenants live an insecure life, where after an initial lease of six months, anyone can be evicted at two months’ notice and rents can rise by any amount. This is no life for families, at constant risk of removal from schools and jobs. Shelter, Crisis and Labour’s shadow housing minister, Jack Dromey, are calling for secure tenancies of three to five years, as in most of Europe, so that rents rise by no more than inflation during that lease.

    The government’s only response to high rents has been to make rents even more unaffordable for the poorest by cutting housing benefit. The claim is that housing benefit artificially inflates rents, but there is no evidence rents will fall. The cut tightens the screw on families already on the edge, 269,000 expected to be plunged into serious difficulty, and 134,000 forced to move. No wonder Grant Shapps this week was given £42m emergency money for extra hostel beds to keep the new homeless from sight: Cameron is desperate to avoid a repeat of the rows of sleeping bags on the Strand and the Embankment, an emblem of the Thatcher era.

    Politically, housing is a wicked issue. Pull one piece of the string and a multitude of dilemmas unravel. Property is still overpriced, due to shortage. But politically, the nation is still addicted to ever-rising prices, homeowners’ animal spirits staying dormant until the great Ponzi scheme starts again.

    Prices are falling slightly, a good thing for many, but if they fell far and fast, homeowners in negative equity would spiral: three million will struggle to pay their mortgages if interest rates rise by 2%, which they will. As prices fall, developers are even less inclined to build; institutional investors less willing to invest in building for sale or rent. Developers sit on gigantic land banks worth less than the price paid, so they build nothing, hoping prices will rise. What about capping private rents? In some areas renting costs more than a mortgage – if only mortgages were on offer. However, even if rents are painfully high for tenants, they are still not a high enough return on investment to entice pension funds into the rented sector to build, build, build all the homes needed.

    This is market failure on a phenomenal scale, just as it was in the boom. The market doesn’t ensure supply meets demand, in good or bad times. This ideological government concludes the cause must be restrictive planning laws, the state always to blame for any imperfection in markets. But developers are already sitting on prime land with planning permission for at least 300,000 homes, waiting for prices to rise, nothing to do with planning. The government’s consultation on its planning policy ends on Monday. Rarely has a Tory policy aroused such anger in its own backyard, from National Trust to Tory councils. This developers’ charter drafted by Tory party donors promotes greenfield building, while there is still room for 1.2m houses on good brownfield sites.

    Lessons of the 1960s will have to be learned all over again. The state has to support housing for the poor and for those on middle incomes too. There has to be nonstop building for all to keep up with demand. That needs state arm-twisting and bribing the private market with carrot and stick. Unused land and empty houses should be sold. The government’s “new homes bonus” needs to be far bigger to stop local nimbys preventing local building. The government needs to give financial guarantees, so pension funds can invest in housing bonds to build a stronger private rental market. Either by housing benefit or by social housing with affordable rents, a large number of people will always need subsidy to live decently. With land value tax, or at least rebalancing council tax fairly, more money is needed for local housing.

    The government points to the soaring cost of housing benefit without acknowledging the cost only rises because rents rise. To cut it without offering any other social option is shocking. Before long, they will re-learn the Cathy Come Home lesson. There is no cheap answer, only a decision about how far the poorest must pay the price for property booms and housing shortages: the growing squalor of overcrowding by rogue landlords will not go unseen for long. Now the children of the middle classes feel it too, watch housing become a hot political issue. Labour’s building record is nothing to boast about, so now they need to come up with a bolder economic growth plan to build Britain out of this crisis.


    The Guardian

    October 15, 2011 at 5:45 pm

  9. On your bike: The Norman Tebbit-style plan to encourage jobless Brits to swap homes and move to areas where there’s work

    Radical new plans to tackle rising unemployment by urging the jobless to swap homes and move to areas where jobs are available have emerged today.

    The Government’s ‘house swap’ programme echoes Norman Tebbit’s 1981 call for the jobless to ‘get on your bike’ and look for work.

    It means people living in social housing will be helped to uproot their families in order to chase jobs.

    Ministers are considering a nationwide database of house swaps and removing barriers to council and housing association tenants moving.

    Details of the scheme are yet to be finalised but it will be launched in the coming weeks, it was reported today.

    Unemployment is at a 17-year high with figures rising 114,000 in the last three months to hit 2.57 million people out of work.

    Prime Minister David Cameron has said the government would ‘do everything it possibly can’ to tackle the crisis.

    Writing in Inside Housing magazine last week, housing minister Grant Shapps said: ‘[The scheme would] boost the prospects of tenants wanting to swap their social home to take up new job opportunities, be closer to their family, or move to a property better suited to their needs.’

    He added: ‘Home swap direct will mark the start of a new drive to improve mobility within social housing.’

    Lord Tebbit, who made his call during the 1981 Tory party conference, told the Observer he hoped there would be further moves to promote a mobile workforce.

    ‘When I look around I find that an enormous number of jobs are taken here from people who have come from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania.

    ‘They have moved sometimes over a thousand miles to find a job. I read now that no one goes from the east end of London to Kent to go hop picking.

    ‘They come from central Europe. Anything which can be done to make it easier to move to jobs is obviously a good thing.’

    Daily Heil

    October 16, 2011 at 8:32 pm

  10. ‘House swap’ plan to help the unemployed uproot in search of work

    Echo of Norman Tebbit’s ‘get on your bike’ speech in initiative to encourage people to chase jobs around the country

    The government is to launch a “house swap” programme, reminiscent of Norman Tebbit’s call for the jobless to “get on your bike”, in an attempt to encourage people to move around the country to find work.

    The controversial plan to tackle the unemployment crisis means people living in social housing will be helped to uproot their families in order to chase jobs. Details of the scheme are yet to be finalised, but it is understood the plan would involve a nationwide database of house swaps and the removal of any barriers to people in social housing moving between regions.

    “House swap” emerged in a week when David Cameron was forced to admit that it was “very disappointing” that unemployment had risen by another 114,000 in the past three months to 2.57 million – a 17-year high. The prime minister added that the government would “do everything it possibly can” to tackle the crisis, amid concerns that ministers do not have any answers to the problem.

    The scheme will be launched in the coming weeks. Grant Shapps, the housing minister, wrote in Inside Housing magazine last week that it would “boost the prospects of tenants wanting to swap their social home to take up new job opportunities, be closer to their family, or move to a property better suited to their needs”. He added: “Home swap direct will mark the start of a new drive to improve mobility within social housing.”

    Lord Tebbit, who famously called on the unemployed to “get on your bike” during the Tory party conference in 1981, told the Observer that he fully endorsed the scheme and hoped there would be further moves to promote a mobile workforce. “When I was a young man I needed to be near to Heathrow in order to attend every day the training school there to achieve a flight navigator’s licence,” he said. “I lived in digs. I did what any rational person would do.

    “When I look around I find that an enormous number of jobs are taken here from people who have come from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania. They have moved sometimes over a thousand miles to find a job.

    “I read now that no one goes from the east end of London to Kent to go hop picking. They come from central Europe. Anything which can be done to make it easier to move to jobs is obviously a good thing.”

    However, critics said the scheme added to the impression that the government blamed the lack of mobility among the unemployed for the country’s rising joblessness. Iain Duncan Smith, the secretary of state for work and pensions, caused a furore last year when he suggested the UK’s workforce was too “static”.

    Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said: “All the language around getting people back into work has been directed with the implicit message that people aren’t prepared to be mobile to find work. But the unemployment figures out this week show that in any category, but particularly if you are young or a woman, there are just no jobs available.

    “We are supportive of initiatives which help people move if they want to move, but what the government really needs to be focusing on is creating jobs in our economy rather than cutting them.”

    TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the focus should be on job creation instead. “Across the country there aren’t enough jobs for people to do and most job hunters are going to be understandably reluctant to uproot their families and move hundreds of miles from their support networks,” he said. “If the government really wants to help the millions of unemployed, it would come up with a plan B for the economy.”

    Tony Tom Murtha, chief executive of Midland Heart, one of the country’s largest housing associations, added that the new plan along with other initiatives was only “papering over the cracks” and that the government needed to start building more social housing which, through a “virtuous circle”, would create jobs.

    Karen Buck, Labour shadow work and pensions minister, said she was concerned about the incoherence of the government’s policy, which appeared to encourage people in social housing to move to where there were jobs while forcing those with large families out of cities, where most job opportunities lay, by capping their housing benefit.

    She said: “Everyone supports measures that help people to take job opportunities, so why are government welfare cuts and council housing allocation policies having the opposite effect by forcing job seekers away from cities where opportunities exist and into the places where unemployment is highest and they are least likely to find work?”


    The Guardian

    October 16, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    • On yer bike!

      Norman Tebbit

      October 18, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      • Send my love to your wife, Norman 🙂

        Patrick Magee

        October 19, 2011 at 6:56 pm

  11. It appears that they are trying to create an “underclass” of people that have few rights and are moved from place to place on the whim of some politician. That can only lead to trouble down the line as whole communities are broken up to meet the demands of these new rules.


    October 19, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    • I think it all becoming too apparent why welfare-to-work providers are anxious to know their victims “housing status”. It is also becoming all too apparent to what use the CenSuS data that the sheep amongst us so willingly handed over whilst being fooled into believing it was to enable our overlords to build more hospitals and schools as the media propaganda exercise went. Our health service and social housing are being systematically destroyed; the fools who gave our evil lords and masters the tools to do this should hand their heads in shame. Oh you foolish people what you cannot be made to believe!

      Conspiracy Theory

      October 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm

      • Keeping the economically inactive alive is a luxury the country can no longer afford!

        Lord David Freud

        October 19, 2011 at 3:27 pm

      • 🙂

        Zyklon B

        October 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      • 🙂

        Soylent Green

        October 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm

      • Like passed to a team of “researchers” at the DWP. “Let’s see how many “economically inactives” in social housing there are, how they are distributed throughout the country and let us figure out a way to cause them maximum misery, displace them and make them homeless :-)”

        DWP "Researcher"

        October 20, 2011 at 11:50 am

      • 🙂

        Grant Shapps

        October 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm

  12. On the subject of being homeless. Whilst serving my sentence on FND I was informed by my adviser at the first one to one appointment that sanctions could lead to homelessness.

    To which I responded rather robustly! I said I thought such a statement was outrageous to put to people as an incentive to comply. Or should that be veiled threat?
    No matter how much basis that may indeed have in fact!
    As far as I am aware a sanction doesn’t affect your HB. I could be wrong. I hope I am.

    A hideous tactic to scare the less strong willed ‘participants’ at the start of such a programme. Thankfully it didn’t apply to me. Hence I could say whatever the f**k I liked to them when they tried it on. Horrid horrid people.

    Mr No

    October 20, 2011 at 12:00 am

    • Yes, utterly, utterly EVIL people. May they burn in Hell!


      October 20, 2011 at 10:52 am

    • Mr No is right about a sanction not affecting your HB and/or council tax relief.

      I had sanction a few months ago, and informed my local council. My housing benefit was unaffected.

      It’s vitally important that you inform your council of the sanction, otherwise you do risk having your HB suspended. Which is what I suspect happens to some claimants who do not tell their council about the sanction.

      My council was aware of my sanction even before I got the letter from the DWP confirming it!

      ECAP 17

      October 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    • Mr No, homlessness is growing all the time.

      A few minutes from the centre of town in Ipswich there are two camps of homless people, one just opposite St Edmund’s house – Suffolk County Council offices, and the college, the other round the corner from there.

      I say this because it’s not hidden anymore.

      Andrew Coates

      October 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm

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