Tory plans threaten housing, warns CIH

24 May 01
Tory spending proposals have been heavily criticised by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) for failing to demonstrate support for arm's-length management companies or the Private Finance Initiative.

25 May 2001

According to the CIH, housing is likely to bear the brunt of proposals to reduce spending by £8bn because the Conservatives have promised to protect other areas, such as health and education.

Casualties could include arm's-length companies, where the Tories have proposed saving £100m, and housing PFI schemes, where savings of £200m have been suggested. Housing benefit reform could deliver a further £425m in savings.

Brian Griffiths, president of the CIH, said housing might have to bear up to one-seventh of the Conservatives' cuts. 'This is hardly a full-bodied commitment to affordable housing,' he added.

By comparison, the institute praised Labour's plans to give tenants the opportunity to gain an equity stake in their home – an idea first floated by the Institute for Public Policy Research in its inquiry into the future of social housing.

'The idea is to find ways to give tenants access to some of the growth in property value that home-owners enjoy, but without changing their status as full tenants,' explained David Butler, the CIH's chief executive.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto was described by the CIH as encouraging, although the party was criticised for not earmarking extra resources for housing in the same way as for schools and health and for failing to declare whether it supports stock transfers.


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