Healey warns of Tories’ “secret” housing plans

By Nick Duxbury

The Government has accused David Cameron’s Conservative Party of plotting ‘secret plans’ to triple social housing rents.

In a succession of attacks on the opposition’s housing policy launched today, housing minister John Healey took to the main stage to warn that David Cameron’s party would cut back social housing and hike rents.

Healey quoted a document obtained under the freedom of information act document outlining Conservative Party housing policy which he said would impact 8m people in social housing.

He accused the Tories of planning to triple current rents.

‘These are the secret plans of four Tory council leaders, two deputies of the London Mayor and the shadow housing minister,’ he told delegates.

‘Secret plans for 8m people in council or housing association homes; secret plans that would double or treble rents – secret plans that would cut off their security in their home to a two month notice period.

‘If I am wrong then David Cameron can tell me so. But he won’t. I challenge him today to come clean with the truth about the Tory plans.’

Over the past two days of the conference the Conservative party’s housing policy in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has repeatedly come under fire and been cited by the government as an example of the threat posed by a Conservative government.

Labour councillor Stephen Cowan, leader of the opposition in Hammersmith and Fulham claimed today that the Conservative council was ‘sweating assets’ and were in discussions with French property investors to sell off seven estates.

He warned that they were looking to export poorer families from the borough.

To press the point, Healey brought with him to the stage a resident from a housing estate in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham who said her home was under threat of demolition.

A series of speakers warned that social housing would be ‘decimated’ by a Conservative government and called for the government to use its stakes in the banks to force them to protect borrowers.

Healey added: ‘They [Conservative Party] don’t believe in social housing. Cameron says look at the Conservative councils to see what a Tory government would do: they give the go ahead to developers to build schemes with no affordable homes allocation; they talk about social housing as barracks for the poor.

‘The shadow minister tells Tory councils to block plans for new homes. This is what they say in public now – think what they would do if they were elected.’

John Denham, secretary of state for communities and local government added his voice to the tirade stating: ‘You have been warned. Just look at Cameron’s councils to see what a Cameron government would be like.’ (Nick Duxbury, Property Week) http://www.propertyweek.com/story.asp?sectioncode=297&storycode=3149837&c=1

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