Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Extending the "Right to Buy" to Housing Associations and "Pay to Stay".


"Pay to Stay" seems to be finally making the news. This is the speech I made at the UNISON London regional AGM this month, while moving my branches motion on this and "Right to buy". The motion was passed unanimously and will go to the UNISON national delegate conference in June.

"Council, John Gray, speaking as a delegate from Greater London Housing Association branch but who is also a Community NEC member, moving motion 4, on extending the right to buy to Housing associations and the so called “pay to stay”.

Council, I have always suspected that these modern day Tories don’t like, don’t understand and don’t care about working class people but their current plans for social housing certainly proves it.

The Tory plan is simple, it is to make future generations pay for their pre-General election bribes, on extending the right to buy by stealing homes from Councils and making them sell these already scarce and inadequate resources, on the open market to pay for it.

Let us be very clear here. At a time of chronic housing shortage. The Tories are going to make Councils sell their homes, their stock to pay for this discount for Housing association tenants? This cannot be right.

London is most at risk from this. Since it seems, we will be forced to sell our London Council homes to pay for the discount in other parts of the country where there is no Council housing, since they have already been sold off or transferred their homes to housing association. Since they have no Council housing they have nothing to sell.

Council, make no mistake, The Tories are coming to London for your homes and those that should have been let in the future for your children.

This also means that while a number of existing Housing association tenants may feel they have no choice but to buy and take on huge mortgages and communal repair risk, it will mean that their children and everyone else's, will have even less of a chance of obtaining a social home in the future.

Of course many tenants will simply not earn enough money to buy a home in London regardless of discount and will not be allowed a mortgage.

Not only this, but the so called “pay to stay” scheme, which will be compulsory for all Council tenants and probably compulsory for housing associations tenants, will result in double or triple or even more rises in their rents. If you or your family household income is more than £40,000 per year (or £30,00 out of the capital) in London (remember family income would be if you and your partner both work or have grown up children who work) you will have to “Pay-to-Stay” full market rental rates to stay in your home.

This could mean your rent for a 2 bed room flat in inner London increasing from £150 per week to as much as £600 per week or more.

If you don’t pay for “pay-to-stay”, be under no illusions, that you and your family will eventually be evicted and could be thrown on the streets.

Council, we have to oppose and campaign against this attack - and all the other Tory attacks on working people.

We shouldn’t really be that horrified or surprised about all this, since this what Tories do when they are in power.

We have to make the case that secure and affordable housing is a basic human right and an absolute duty of the state to make sure their citizens are decently housed.

Council, please, not only support this motion but join us and campaign together against this recipe for housing misery for our members now and in the future.

Council, I move. 
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