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Live webchat with Grant Shapps, local government and housing minister, Tues 7 Dec, 2.30pm - 3.30pm

(250 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 02-Dec-10 12:06:24

Grant ShappsWe're very pleased that our webchat guest on Tues 7 Dec is local government and housing minister Grant Shapps. He has recently been in the news over homeowners' rights and the government's social housing policy.

On Mon 6 Dec, he's setting out how the government intends to put more power into the hands of local councillors. Part of this is that the govt wants to encourage women, particularly mothers of school-age children, to consider becoming councillors. Grant would like to know what you think about becoming a local councillor? Are there any obstacles to you doing so? If you're already a councillor, what are your experiences, and what do you think are the opportunities for women in local government?

Grant is the MP for Welwyn Hatfield, he's married with three children - a boy aged nine and six-year-old twins.

Hope you can join him on Tues, 1.30pm-2.30pm. But if you can't and you have a question or comment, please post it here.

karausedtobekelly Fri 21-Jan-11 23:52:13

hi my ame is kara i live in sheffield i have had a letter to get out of my house by my land lord by the 22nd january i have 4 children a 3 year old 1 year old and twins at 5 months which were 3 months early i have been to the council and they have will not give me priorty untill my land lord files for 2 more letters for court only then will they give me priorty,but by that time i have to leave the house i have no where else to go and one of the twins has chronic lung disease,i have postnatal depression and dont know who to turn to or what else to do i am so unhappy about my situation and because i work i dont get the help others get that are on benefits and because i work i think i should have more help

madamimadam Thu 30-Dec-10 23:11:18

I've posted all the housing questions in their original form, as it seems the most 'proper' way to do so but, with Hullygully's help, the following seem to be the most succinct key questions here:

Wouldn’t it be much fairer to set LHA according to comparisons of specific properties? Eg if you rent a two bed flat in Victoria, what are the market rents for the six nearest and most similar flats?

Where are social tenants (most of whom are low waged, not necessarily unemployed) supposed to live?

Do you have any plans to create a new contract between landlord and tenant that is fairer to both sides and offers protection to both sides?

And many, many thanks to Planning Committee and Hullygully for giving my summaries the once over and helping me trim it all down.

A very happy new year to one and all. Who knows? We may even hear from Mr Shapps in 2011...

madamimadam Thu 30-Dec-10 23:05:13

Housing
superv1xen Thu 02-Dec-10 19:20:36
What can we expect the household income before families are kicked out told to find a private rented property is going to be set at?

madamimadam Tue 07-Dec-10 15:11:42
<Central government is not setting a level of income above which you won't qualify for a social home - this is set at a local level.>??And that will be us local councillors, will it? And who will monitor that or which body could you appeal to if it was deemed necessary?

Are you going to do anything to help mere mortals on or just above the minimum wage get on the property ladder?

granted Thu 02-Dec-10 23:09:37
When do you intend to improve security of tenure and rights for tenants so that they are at a comparative level to other European countries?

Would you agree that it is unreasonable for children to be brought up in homes where they can be moved on the whim of a landlord every 6 months?

MmeLindt Tue 07-Dec-10 15:27:00
Re: capping rents ?{One} way of safeguarding tenants would be to improve their rights regarding landlords being able to turf them out at short notice. Would this be something that your government would look at? Improving renters’ rights?

Hullygully Tue 07-Dec-10 15:29:00
If people have to move away from existing social networks where they have help with child/ elderly parent care to an area where they have no support network and where there is even less likelihood of work - because let's face it, it's cheap for a reason - what exactly differentiates that from a dumping ground???

madamimadam Tue 07-Dec-10 15:36:05
Where I live there's been such an influx from London that our schools are oversubscribed. Developers have built lots of 'luxury' accommodation but there's no infrastructure. The school's issue alone has been a headache for the council. Where do you intend these displaced people to go? Will you fund the additional services that such an influx will create?

AllSheepareWhite Tue 07-Dec-10 15:15:52
Why has {is?} my borough allowed to decide the structure and living arrangements of our family, contradicting the Equalities and Human Rights Act when there is no provision to do this in the Housing Acts or the borough Housing Allocation Policy?

Housing benefit
ISNT Mon 06-Dec-10 20:11:19
Please can Mr Shapps confirm how many people will be forced to move due to the effect of the cap on housing benefit, how many of these are in London, how many children will be affected, and what plans are in place for their relocation (where are they going to go, will there be places at local schools for their children etc)?

ISNT Tue 07-Dec-10 15:17:42
"There is NO CHANGE to whatever your social housing arrangement happens to be. And there never will be under us"??So no-one will have to move due to the cap in housing benefit then?

packofcards Tue 07-Dec-10 15:20:55
Grant, I am sorry but I don't believe that. Things are going to be a lot worse for the poorest 20% of our country. From our point of veiw there has been a cap on hb, child benifit has been frozen vat going up from Jan. Where our we supposed to find the exta money from??

madamimadam Thu 30-Dec-10 22:59:16

Localism
policywonk Mon 06-Dec-10 11:40:30
If you really believed in localism, wouldn't you allow local councils more revenue-raising powers?

grannieonabike Mon 06-Dec-10 21:48:01
Can you assure us that your government is not trying to prepare us to accept the mass privatisation of the NHS and Higher Education systems and the involvement of for-profit organisations in local services, by getting us to accept your Big Society idea?'

Policywonk Tue 07-Dec-10 15:07:59
What will you do to ensure that anything that's not electorally popular will go down the tubes in local spending cuts, leaving the most vulnerable people even worse off?

Eleison Tue 07-Dec-10 15:37:19
How can the community-building of both localism and the Big Society can go hand in hand with the active undermining of local third-sector organizations?

Do you really think we believe you when you say that the handing over of local public service provision is an opportunity for community rather than business?

madamimadam Tue 07-Dec-10 14:13:59
If you do expect people to volunteer as carers in homes, run education services etc, who will pay for the CRB checks? And, as I am unqualified for such a role, who will pay for my training?

swanker Tue 07-Dec-10 14:44:45
A large authority also recently advertised for volunteers to carry out statutory duties (statutory data collections) because there has been a staffing freeze for so long there are no longer enough paid officers to manage the workload. How is that not replacing paid people with volunteers?

madamimadam Thu 30-Dec-10 22:58:26

Apologies, anyone who's still watching this thread. I meant to get the questions up but then my computer crashed with a virus and it's taken me this long to get back up and running, as my phone is virtually clockwork in its antiquity...

Anyway, Mr Shapps or callow aide (not that I think we'll ever see hide nor hair of either of you on this thread again...) here are the questions that, to this MNer at least, were still outstanding - and that you so kindly promised to answer hmm.

(Though they are being posted more to fulfill a promise to fellow MNers than in any expectation that they'll be answered.)

I've grouped them into 'areas' for clarity. There are a few, mind, so apologies for the less-than-succinct posts that follow:


Councillors
ZephirineDrouhin Mon 06-Dec-10 13:14:03
What will councillors actually be able to do to address, for example, the acute shortage of affordable housing?

ThePlanningCommittee Tue 07-Dec-10 00:25:55
Why would anyone want to be a local councillor under your Government's programme of cuts?

Ewe Mon 06-Dec-10 14:49:43
I would have spent over £3,500 on nursery fees {if work as a councilor took 20hrs a week}. Surely you can see that this doesn't inspire me to bash down the door of my local political party begging them to let me stand?

VoidofDiscovery Tue 07-Dec-10 12:17:09
Will they let me take the children into the council meetings when I'm elected? As a single parent with little money & no family near, have no other choice.

cakeywakey Mon 06-Dec-10 15:14:28
How are new candidates supposed to come forward when incumbents are constantly reselected???

ThePlanningCommittee Tue 07-Dec-10 00:25:55
Why would anyone want to be a local councillor under your Government's programme of cuts?

Will you end the 'right to buy' and will you empower local authorities to build new social housing without the need for a costly ALMO / LDV, in order to solve this country's housing crisis, reduce local waiting lists, and help those most in need?

ZephirineDrouhin Tue 07-Dec-10 22:33:23
Shame Grant Shapps didn't feel able to address ThePlanningCommittee's post of 07-Dec-10 00:25:55. It was infinitely more informative and convincing on the subject of the role of councillor than anything he posted this afternoon, and it speaks volumes that he didn't touch it.

(And Planning’s suggestion of democracy leave in the same post was also ignored by GS)

ukgladiator Fri 17-Dec-10 20:27:10

have you ever been living in hostle for five years?
do you have disability,mental health?
are you valurable person?
are you on low income,on the benefit?
If not how did you make this decision?
we the poor need low cost social housing.
we need support to stay on the feet.
we need more social housing for pepole on low
income.
this decision means the poor get poorer,the rich get richer.
what dose two years short tenancy mean?
what dose up to %80 rent of the market mean?
dosenot the poor have a right to have a permanent place?

ukgladiator Fri 17-Dec-10 20:25:37

have you ever been living in hostle for five years?
do you have disability,mental health?
are you valurable person?
are you on low income,on the benefit?
If not how did you make this decision?
we the poor need low cost social housing.
we need support to stay on the feet.
we need more social housing for pepole on low
income.
this decision means the poor get poorer,the rich get richer.
what dose two years short tenancy mean?
what dose up to %80 rent of the market mean?
dosenot the poor have a right to have a permanent place?

ukgladiator Tue 14-Dec-10 19:37:16

I am suffering from mental health probles and learning difficulties, I am under medications.My landloard told me he wants his flat back ,I am facing to be homeless.
how can I stand on my feet without support?
I need to have a secure place to live.what dose short tenancy for 2 or 5 years mean?
social house is for vulnerable people, thats why they should be in reasonable price!!!!!!!!!!
If you take away the hope from these poeple how
they will be encouraged to change their life,to find the job,to buy their home?
If the rent goes up to %80 of the market,ones who earn £500 a month, how to pay the rent???!!
you should help people(sepecially vulnerable ones)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

madamimadam Fri 10-Dec-10 22:52:59

Hi everyone. I'm sorry not to have posted the summary of the outstanding questions, but - being fairly new to MN webchats - I think I may have been overly scrupulous in detailing each query. It’s a pretty long list! I also got myself in a twist over whether I should include questions that were responded to but not really answered iyswim. (and then was concerned that would just be a matter of my opinion…).

I’m clearly not councillor material.

What’s everyone’s opinion? Should I put it up as pretty long post (if it includes specific case questions) or should I put up, say, six questions and we all add any others that we are particularly keen to see GS or his aide respond to?

Look at me, being trusting and thinking that they will actually come back and answer them...

SantaIsAnAnagramOfSatan Fri 10-Dec-10 14:16:05

the key thing is that there is nowhere to move them to. we need to be investing in elderly people's units in every community that are specifically close to amenities and can offer wardens, basic care and support to those who need it.

i just don't like the portrayal that these are selfish old gits sitting in big houses refusing to move - it just fudges over the fact there is no housing to move them to and they'd love to move them if they could but short of turfing them onto the streets they can't.

Hullygully Fri 10-Dec-10 13:23:37

I wonder what happened to Grant answering more queries?

Perhaps he ran out of hot air and meaningless platitudes.

Triggles Fri 10-Dec-10 10:53:51

I can see the reason why it would be difficult to relocate some of these elderly people in larger properties.
- it's the only home they've known for years and moving them could cause great stress for them
- if moved to another location, it then means they leave everything familiar to them - support, surgeries/GPs, transport routes, shopping locations for groceries and meds
- if moved, they are then unfamiliar with the people and more likely to be afraid of communicating with others, leaving them alone and more vulnerable
- some moves may put them in a position that is worse off in terms of transport - such as moving them from a home that is right near the bus line to one that is a long walk which they can't manage - again, leaving them alone and more vulnerable

I do wonder why the government can't purchase properties that are run down and fix them up and use them for council properties. It then does two things - gets a run down property repaired which automatically improves the area around it and makes one more house available to someone who needs it. God knows there are tons of these types of properties all over.

Catchthewind Thu 09-Dec-10 16:30:47

Well I'd just like to say, in any case, a Merry Shitsmas, Mr Crapps.

oops. <coughing fit>

SantaIsAnAnagramOfSatan Thu 09-Dec-10 15:40:02

and you need to realise that many of 'these older people' would love to be rehoused in their community in a smaller, more suitable property that they can cope better with. sadly they don't exist.

stressedok Thu 09-Dec-10 14:38:54

Why aren't the government reviewing the houseing problems for families. There are so many older people out there in council properties who got given a large council house because of their family sies. Their kids have now grown up and left home. Why not rehouse these people in smaller homes more suitable for their sie occupancy and then you would have a lot more larger properties for families who are in smaller overcrowded properties. What these older people need to realise is they don't own the houses just rent them. Once occupancy numbers are reduced in the large house they should no longer have the right to keep them.

Hullygully Thu 09-Dec-10 08:05:58

I think a weird thing happens to them once they become MPs - apart from the fact they're a teensy bit thick to start with (or why on earth would they want to become an MP?), the minute they are one they start thinking everyone else is a terrible dunderhead who can be bought off with a few soothing platitudes.

SantaIsAnAnagramOfSatan Thu 09-Dec-10 07:49:15

are you sure that's not 1700 as the maximum - so meaning if you had ten kids or something? it wouldn't be 1700 for a woman and one child i'd imagine. these things need to be looked at in their context. very few people get the maximums.

some really interesting posts since the chat. thank you.

madamimadam Thu 09-Dec-10 00:48:20

Planning, so sorry I missed your post at 23.00 or so yesterday in my Beechams-induced haze. I can't support granteds comments about you standing for PM enough!

You don't happen to live in Surrey, do you? I really, really hope you do. I'd vote for you and then vote for you some more (if they haven't sorted out the postal vote racket)

So sorry not to have rounded up the questions yet. I spent today emailing anyone I could get my hands on about the tuition fee vote tomorrow. I feel Mr Shapps would be proud of how I've thrown myself into politics recently. It's not 'off-putting' after all, is it? All it takes, it seems, is a government that doesn't actually have a mandate to govern, more regressive policies than you can shake a stick at and, goodness me, an X-factor-viewing mum suddenly becomes politically active. Who'd have thought it, eh Grant?

Am I through to the next round? Will I win the chance to shut down care for the elderly where I am?

Will post the questions tomorrow if that's ok, Planning. (Just hope I get it all right now!)

Sorry, everyone. That pre-chat missive still really rankles.

WilfShelf Wed 08-Dec-10 22:01:18

I have a break between worky things so I've just come here to say:

AAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHA and, er, HAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA just a wee bit more.

Another quality Tory brain they've got there. And so much persuasive competence. grin 'Two Brains' Willetts must gnash his teeth in cabinet meetings.

Hullygully Wed 08-Dec-10 16:42:03

As I said before, LHA should be based on the local market private rent. And deposits and and direct payments to landlords should be standard.

Catchthewind Wed 08-Dec-10 11:26:38

What a missed opportunity for a spoonerism.

policywonk Wed 08-Dec-10 11:22:08

madam I will do!

Must say I think it's fair enough for webchat victims to post pre-prepared answers - god knows we gave Cameron enough stick for not answering quickly enough. Can't have it both ways. (Whether these were Shapps's answers or written by his spads is another q.)

ilovecrisps Wed 08-Dec-10 11:00:51

Hully the LHA where I am would give me 1,700 pounds a month

Substantially more than we can afford to pay and have ever paid (and we both work)

how is it right that since it is that some landlords who will accept DSS charge that for what can often be grotty properties and we as taxpayers have to pay it

how would you overcome that?
(or wouldn't you)

My LA was proudly crowing the other day that they are about to restart their RTB scheme, I was shock to hear that

granted Wed 08-Dec-10 08:54:04

ThePlanningCommittee - you don't fancy being Prime Minister, do you?

You'd get paid a tad more than the minimum wage, and I'd vote for you! We need more of your type of politicians, and less of Grant's.

'His' answer to me started with a whole long preamble that bore no relation to anything I'd written, and then neatly sidestepped most of the questions I had actually asked, substituting a few random figures for overall analysis.

granted Wed 08-Dec-10 08:48:16

ThePlanningCommittee - you don't fancy being Prime Minister, do you?

You'd get paid a tad more than the minimum wage, and I'd vote for you! We need more of your type of politicians, and less of Grant's.

'His' answer to me started with a whole long preamble that bore no relation to anything I'd written, and then neatly sidestepped most of the questions I had actually asked, substituting a few random figures for overall analysis.

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