Another attack on public housing

Pay to StDSCF1131ay seems to be the latest attack on tenants of public housing in the UK. Proposals by David Cameron (left) and his Conservative Government to force tenants who earn more than £30K to pay market rents is the latest attack on ordinary people. The effect is thought to result in many more people being priced out of accommodation, particularly in London and other increasingly expensive urban centres. This comes on top of the forced sale of the most valuable council houses, right to buy against housing associations, and the end of permanent tenancies.

Let us unpick the argument. According to advocates of this proposal, people earning over £30K are being subsidised by the poorer tenants. The Department for Communities and Local Government has argued that in some cases these so-called high earners are being subsidised to the tune of £3,500 per year (the difference between what they pay in social housing vis-a-vis private-sector rents). Essentially those under the threshold have nothing to fear.

£30K can rarely be seen as high earning. For example, the sum may be a household aggregate. Two people  may be working full-time togoogle make the £30K. If they are additionally parents, I suspect, £30K does not go far. To have the ‘aspiration’ (a word we heard a lot of from David Cameron and his campaign guru, Lynton Crosby) during the election campaign) to earn more than £30K may be punished by homelessness. People paying different sums depending on their incomes is fairer, goes the Government argument. Fairer to the extent that these people will then end up subsidising Google.

Model of David Cameron: Holly MacDonald

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