This table below, which covers the rent levels in my own borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, gives an indication of how astonishingly high council rents can be compared with the local market rent.
We are proposing to stop those earning more than £40,200 from becoming council tenants. We are also backing the comments of Housing Minister Grant Shapps that tenants earning more than £60,000 should receive less state subsidy and therefore pay a higher social rent than those on lower incomes.
Cllr Andrew Johnson, the Cabinet Member for Housing at Hammersmith & Fulham Council, said:
“Social housing is meant to be for those people who are most in need of somewhere to live. Instead, we have a system where millions of people on low incomes are forced into the private rented sector while high-income tenants are occupying the homes that were built for the most vulnerable.
“This borough has some of the highest private rents in the country and it is an absolute travesty that so many of our low income residents have to pay astronomical weekly rents, while some people earning in excess of £60,000 are getting away with a weekly rent of around £100.”
"Social housing should be a springboard – not a destination.
"The system also fails to take into account the fact that a household’s need for social housing may be temporary. If we are serious about tackling the country’s housing crisis, we need to be much smarter about how we allocate our precious and limited housing stock.”
How can the Labour Party defend an arrrangement where the taxes of the poor are used to subsidise the rents of the rich? With some difficulty if the Labour councillors in my borough are any guide. They will ask a few questions about procedural or technical points. But how do they respond when challenged as to whether they agree or disagree with making the change? The more shameless of them indignantly respond that such a question is quite irrelevant. Others have the decency to feel embarassed and too look down at their shoes.