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Monday, 15 February 2016

Lib Dems will block the Tory 'pay to stay'

The Liberal Democrats say their peers will 'protect social housing' by blocking controversial plans in the government’s Housing and Planning Bill. Controversial plans in the Bill, which the Lib Dems say hope to curb include the imposition of starter homes, Pay to Stay, the extension of Right to Buy and the end of lifetime tenancies.

These four are amongst around 100 amendments tabled in the Lords today to the government’s Housing and Planning Bill. The Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment to strike out Pay to Stay out of the Bill altogether, while the Labour party have put forward amendments which if accepted will water down the policy rather than scrap it altogether. Its not known at this point if Labour will vote for the Lib Dem amendment.

Pay to Stay will see families or individuals with a total income of £40,000 plus a year in London, and £30,000 plus outside the capital, forced to pay the rental market rate. Savills Estate Agents have found that 214,000 households would be hit by the policy across England. 

In London, most of the 27,000 households affected will be unable to afford to rent privately or to buy in the same area. Camden is one of the London boroughs most affected by the change, with more than 2,000 families seeing a sharp increase in bills. The increase of which will go to the Treasury rather than local councils. 

The proposals in the Government's Housing and Planning Bill directly contradict what, Prime Minister, David Cameron said to Inside Housing magazine in 2010: "We support social housing, we will protect it, and we respect our social tenants’ rights."

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron said: "The Housing bill is riddled with holes and unfairness. The Government has clearly drafted a Bill without consulting anyone who has lived in or experienced the realities of social housing. Social housing is a lifeline for thousands of people and the Conservatives seem driven by ideological dogma to sell off these homes." 

"The Prime Minister used to be vocal in his support for social housing. His actions show now that he was merely paying lip service." Mr Farron added.