So called “pay to stay” laws set to charge social housing tenants market prices if they earn more than £30,000 are extortionate and unfair, according to a Northampton housing campaigner.
Blogger Norman Adams is urging townsfolk to have their say on a consultation on the “fairer rents in social housing” legislation being proposed by the Government, which would come into effect in April 2017.
The proposals, first announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his budget speech in July, are to charge the tenants of any council house earning a combined wage of more than £30,000 the a near private market rate to stay there.
Currently, the rule only applies to households earning more than £60,000.
With the laws likely to push people into the private rent market, Mr Adams says existing social tenants are being unfairly punished for a lack of housing stock.
He said: “The way to ensure that social housing caters for all those people who are on waiting lists, and who cannot realistically afford the private rent, is to build more council homes, not punish existing tenants.
“Social housing is currently a scarce resource, but this is because successive governments since the early 1980s have failed to invest in council housing and the stock has been decimated by right to buy.”
Currently, neither Northampton Borough Council nor the Office for National Statistics holds figures on exactly how many people will be affected if the legislation goes through.
The Government says the change to the pay to stay policy will “incentivise” work.
But Mr Adams believes it will have the opposite effect on many.
He said: “You could get to this position where people think, ‘should I take on two hours of overtime’? Because if they do they could have silly rent prices.”
To comment on the proposals head to https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/pay-to-stay-high-income-social-tenants
The consultation ends on November 20.