New reports show further social cleansing nightmare ahead
Perfect storm in housing: two new reports
A new report from Savills (see Inside Housing today) illustrates the mortal threat to social housing from the governments housing plans and threatens a further nighmare of social cleansing. Under the governments ‘Pay to stay’ proposals social housing tenants whose households earn more than £30,000 – or £40,000 in London – will have to pay market rents, or take advantage of right to buy, or maybe move of course. Savills have now estimated that 60.1% of the 27,108 affected households in London will not be able to afford market rent or be able to buy their house under the Right to Buy. In the East, South East and South West regions of England the figure is 49.1%, 43.4% and 26.6% respectively.
The National Housing Federation calls for a “taper” so that you would not immediately have to pay the full market rent the moment your income hits £30,000 or £40,000. That would mitigate the position but still leave tenants in an impossible trap.
Because of historically low interest rates, owner occupiers may look like they are fine at the moment but if and when interest rates rise many will quickly be unable to pay mortgages on their expensive homes. But today more new figures from Citizens Advice show that nearly a million home owners have zero interest mortgages with no way of paying them back. That is another time bomb in the housing system.
The big parties have all opposed effective rent control in the private sector despite rocketing rents. The neoliberal policies in housing advocated by all the main parties and given a vicious twist by austerity are producing a perfect storm. Mainstream political commentators seem bewildered by the support for Jeremy Corbyn who advocates housing policies along the lines advocated by Unite and our branch for a number of years calling for serious investment in council house building. Many MPs are totally hostile to them. We will have to step up our campaign on social housing joining with Unite Community, tenants and others. Why not put the housing conference initiated by Unite Community on Saturday 10 October in your diary?