Under Labour social housing has been a kind of municipal serfdom. The new Government is keen to change that. One initiative is to improve mobility. It could be a tenant wanted to move to where there was work available. It could be a pensioner wanted to move from a big flat in a inner city tower block to something smaller and quieter by the seaside.
Housing Minister Grants Shapps has announced plans for a housing Freedom Pass. There will be a National Home Swap Scheme database. Tenants will be able to get on and make their own arrangements to swap rather than being passively at the mercy of housing officers.
"Social housing should provide more than a roof over people's heads – it should lift them out of poverty, and free them to take chances to improve the quality of their own lives.
"Instead, many tenants are left trapped in their own homes, while councils and housing associations turn their attention to record waiting lists.
"This cannot continue – as we work to tackle the record budget deficit we must ensure vulnerable people benefit from, but don't become trapped by, the safety net that social housing provides.
"That's why I'm putting tenants in the driving seat, with a new opportunity to see people like them looking to exchange social homes not just in their area but across the country, through a new National Home Swap Scheme."