Southwark Council has confirmed that it will not implement the controversial Pay to Stay policy in the borough after the Government’s dramatic u-turn on it being compulsory.
Cllr Stephanie Cryan, Southwark Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing, was strongly opposed to the policy, along with other councillors from both Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
The Government’s proposals would have required councils to collect higher rents from council tenants earning over £40,000, with all the additional money going straight to the Treasury.
Southwark’s Labour councillors have been campaigning against the policy and Cllr Cryan wrote to housing minister Gavin Barwell to raise concerns about local authorities being forced to means test council tenants.
Cllr Cryan said: “Southwark Labour councillors are completely opposed to Pay to Stay and we have been campaigning against the Government’s plans to make it mandatory for councils.
“Pay to Stay would lead to huge rent hikes for working families living in council homes, so I’m delighted that the Tories have scrapped their plans and I can confirm Southwark will not be implementing the policy.
“We will continue to lobby the Government to drop their other disastrous housing policies in the Housing and Planning Act, including the end of lifetime tenancies and the forced sale of council homes.
“I would urge also housing associations in Southwark to follow the council’s lead and confirm that they will not implement Pay to Stay.”
Current rules say social landlords can charge tenants with incomes over £60,000 market or near-market rate.
Councillor Anood Al-Samerai, Leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition on Southwark Council, said: “It’s great that the Government has caved in and that Pay-to-Stay will not now be forced on Southwark’s council tenants.
“But Labour should be a bit less arrogant and remember that there were many local residents and groups campaigning hard to stop pay-to-stay.
“Tenants also have concerns about the loss of council housing here in Southwark and it is important that councillors listen to these concerns.”