‘Pay to stay’ social housing plan dropped

Plans to force higher-earning social housing tenants to pay more in rent have been scrapped by the government.

Ministers said they had “listened carefully” and decided not to proceed with the controversial “pay to stay” policy.

It would have applied to social housing residents in England earning £31,000 or £40,000 in London.

Councils and housing associations would be able to decide whether to impose higher rents, the government said.

Housing minister Gavin Barwell also confirmed the government would be ending the right of social housing tenants to stay in their homes for life, by introducing compulsory fixed-term tenancies.

This will mean tenancies are periodically reviewed “to ensure tenants still need a socially rented home”, he said, with councils told to prioritise lower-income households.

He added that the government was exploring other ways to ensure higher-earning tenants “make a greater contribution to costs”.

The change in policy comes after a public consultation into “pay to stay” in which council leaders and charities criticised the plans.

Under the current rules, social landlords can charge tenants with an income of over £60,000 market or near-market rent.

Former Chancellor George Osborne announced a compulsory scheme in his July 2015 Budget, with the government saying it was unfair for hardworking people to be “subsidising the lifestyles of those on higher than average incomes”.

It would have meant local authorities were forced to raise rents with a taper system in place for those earning over £31,000 or £40,000 in London.

read more here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38058402

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