Scrapping of Pay to Stay ‘a victory for working families’, says Hackney Council
The Mayor of Hackney has welcomed the Government’s decision to abandon its plans to force working families in Council housing to pay extra rent.
Minister for Housing and Planning Gavin Barwell MP announced last night that he would not force councils to implement the rent hikes proposed for families with a household income of more than £40,000 – such as two newly qualified nurses or primary school teachers.
It followed months of campaigning and work by local residents, the Council and its partners to demonstrate to the Government that the plans would put extra pressure on families’ budgets and be incredibly complex and costly for local authorities to put into place.
This is a victory for the low-paid working families who would have been penalised by this unworkable policy, so I'm pleased the Government has finally listened to Hackney, campaigning local residents and others, and scrapped it.
We've been working hard behind the scenes to demonstrate to ministerial officials the damage this tenant tax would have on families in Hackney and the bureaucratic nightmare it would place on tenants and local authorities – the reasons I marched, campaigned and gave evidence in Parliament against this legislation.
Ministers must now apply the same sense to other counterproductive measures in the Housing and Planning Act – such as the forced sale of council homes to fund a needless extension of Right to Buy – and end their assault on social housing.
The Council warned earlier this month that rushing through the policy, due to start next year, risked causing extra hardship for many working families who are already struggling financially.
Council officers had also repeatedly set out the administrative challenges of implementing the measures – which could have cost nearly £500,000 in the first year alone – to government officials through letters and regular meetings.
The Housing and Planning Act became law in May. As well as the new Pay to Stay rules, it includes the extension of Right to Buy to housing association tenants, funded by the sale of Council homes – which could force Hackney Council to sell up to 700 Council homes over the next five years.
For more information on the Council’s lobbying against the changes, visit the Housing and Planning Act page.