Pay to stay – a sledgehammer to crack a nut?
I am the Resident Board Member at Notting Hill Housing and I would like to tell you how the new rules will affect me and my daughter.
The new thresholds for total household income that the Tories want to inflict on us will make it impossible for thousands of us to survive.
My daughter and I receive no benefits neither do we want to but the implications of what will happen if a market rent is brought in for social housing on Tory thresholds will be devastating.
My daughter is a teacher at an inner London school and works approx 52 - 70 hours a week .She is paid a gross salary of £29,000 for 35 hours; she loves her job and is good at it. The Government takes over £150 a month out of her salary to pay off her student loan. I am now retired with a state pension and a local government pension. This means that together our gross income adds up to £40,000 and we will be expected to pay market rent under the new rules. That is insanity and we will not have enough money to pay any other bills let alone eat.
For over a hundred years where we live was regarded as a slum area and now that new moneyed people have moved in the house values have gone up. As a local government employee I was not able to buy my home and now it feels that the Tories are practising social cleansing so that their rich buddies can take areas over. We pay a rent of £700 a month to Notting Hill Housing Association for a small two bedroom flat which we can manage but what on earth will happen if the new rules are implemented?. The market rent in London is not comparable with the rest of the country so how is this new rule feasible? Clearly it is not.
The crazy thing is that I attended a tenants meeting with the Notting Hill policy group prior to the budget and most of us agreed that we would be more than willing to have a sliding scale of income so that those of us who earned more paid more. But we cannot be expected to pay as much as those families who have a number of high wage earners adding up to a gross of £85,000 or more.
I have spoken to a number of families most of which comprise of 2 working adults and 2 working children. Even those on a lower income when added together comes to an income of £40,000. If this rule comes in then a huge proportion of those in social housing will be in an impossible situation. I accept that those of us who have a reasonable total income could, and should, pay more on a sliding scale but we cannot pay market rent so what will happen to us?. Surely it is unfair to penalise families like my daughter and myself. We collect no benefits at all. A state pension I have paid into all my life is not a benefit. I have already been told by others that they will find the loopholes to make sure they are below the threshold such as "losing" children with an income. I was advised that my daughter should go part time so we stay below the threshold. That is crazy and why should she let down the children that rely on her as a good teacher.
Many of the families this affects are teachers, support workers and nurses. What will happen without them and where are we to go? I would also point out that housing associations are not subsidised in the same way as council housing is although they seem to be judged together which is unfair.
Please please fight this for something fairer. I agree that people with an income of £100,000 should not be in social housing or be paying a lot more but this government are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
As I said before in London this is simply a case of social cleansing.