Finally, a good idea from the Labour conference. In his speech tomorrow, Ed Miliband
will say he’d give workers priority over the jobless for social housing. This is the dividing line he was reluctant to draw when asked to by Andrew Marr on Sunday. It’s a clever move, and one that
recognises the resentment felt by the strivers against the welfare dependent. He will say: "The hard truth is that we still have a system where reward for work is not high enough, where
benefits are too easy to come by for those who abuse the system." So councils dolling out housing should not only take need into account, but whether applicants "are working, whether they
look after the property and are good neighbours."
I can’t see why IDS would oppose this, and perhaps consensus can be reached. It’s not a radical step, but it will be hard to implement because council house allocation is notoriously difficult to
reform. But Miliband is doing in housing policy what Cameron should do in tax policy: favour the workers. Those who actually get up, work for about the minimum wage and, under the present system,
gain little more for their labours than the welfare-dependent.
Where did this good idea come from? I suspect Glassman or some members of the Ed Miliband Brains Trust. Labour has to go way further down this road, but it’s a start.