Families earning over just £40,200 a year are to be banned from social housing in the Tory controlled borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. In a move which will decimate public services in the borough, many nurses, teachers and other vital workers will no longer be able to afford to live in the area where they work. With private rents soaring in neighbouring boroughs many families will find themselves forced out of the capital completely.
Hammermith and Fulham claim they are ‘tearing up the rulebook’ on social housing and will also break “the link between a homelessness application and a social housing tenancy.” This will mean homeless people will no longer have access to secure housing and due to soaring private rents are likely to be socially cleansed from the area.
In another shocking move social housing tenancies are to be limited to just five years, or two years for those under 25, whilst priority is to be given to working residents. The earnings cap of £40k will initially be only aimed at new applications for housing, but it is difficult to see the point of fixed term tenancies if this is not to be extended to every social housing resident in the borough. Any family who sees their income rise above £40k a year is now likely to lose their home once they reach their tenancy review. Any form of security for tenants will disappear due to the reviews at which residents will be kicked out of their homes for either earning too much or not enough.
Whilst a £40k a year salary is nothing to be sniffed at, it will not be enough to secure a mortgage on a property in the area even for couples without children. With rents approaching £400 a week for three bedroom properties in the borough, medium earning council tenants with children will find themselves forced to move out of the area or give up work.
Despite homelessness already soaring in London, the new Housing Minister Mark Prisk has cheered the decimation of social housing in one of London’s wealthier boroughs. New rules introduced mean that Tory Councils can now gerrymander low income residents or homeless people out of their areas into less affluent boroughs. This move has been justified by lurid tales of millionaires, or even worse trade union leaders like Bob Crow, living in ‘subsidised’ housing.
Social Housing is not subsidised and often makes a profit for local authorities. This is a shining example of what can happen when grasping landlords and property develops are removed from the equation and genuinely affordable housing is provided at local level. Hammersmith and Fulham Council seem to care more about profits of buy to let landlords like Chris Grayling than hard working families.
The Tories lied that the Housing Benefit caps were to stop benefit claimants living in two grand a week Kensington mansions. In reality the cap was set so low that London rents are now unaffordable for those on a low incomes. These new rules, far from being aimed at the tiny handful of rich social housing tenants, will now make social housing unavailable for even families earning less than the average London wage.
This Government won’t be happy until every social housing tenant is forced into the arms of a slum landlord far away from where the chinless toffs slurp their lattes. Other plans announced last year mean social housing rents are to rise to the same levels as those in private sector. With secure tenancies abolished and rents no longer cheaper than the private sector then many will ask what is the point of social housing? Which is exactly what these scum want.