Setback for DCLG as Lords defeat "pay to stay" housing plans

Plans to make higher-earning council tenants pay more in rent suffer series of defeats by peers

By Josh May

19 Apr 2016

The Department for Communities and Local Governemnt (DCLG) is facing pressure to back down on plans to make higher-earning council tenants pay more in rent after the proposals suffered three defeats in the House of Lords yesterday.

Peers voted to hand councils the power not to implement the "pay to stay" policy if they judged it would be too costly to administer.

The same amendment, described by the government as a “wrecking amendment”, also said local authorities should receive the proceeds of the surcharge, rather than central government.

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The government’s "pay to stay"plans would mean tenants earning more than £30,000, or £40,000 in London, would have to pay the private rate for their homes.

Two more amendments to the Housing and Planning Bill were passed yesterday: one lowering the ‘taper rate’ to 10p in the pound above the minimum income threshold, and one raising the threshold at which the market rate would apply to £40,000, or £50,000 in London.

The government also offered a concession on its plans to end lifelong council tenancies.

Rather than five-year tenancies, thegGovernment, faced with another defeat by peers, has now offered ten-year deals.

DCLG minister Baroness Williams signalled that the Government would ask MPs to overturn the Lords when the issue returns to the Commons next week.

But Shadow Housing Minister John Healey urged ministers to accept the changes, and described the Housing Bill as an "attack on aspiration".

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