Karen Buck

Working hard for Westminster North

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Westminster Conservatives hatch plans to increase council rents

Westminster Conservatives want to raise the rents of people for council tenants who they consider to be earning too much and has asked the Government to give the Council the power to set its own rent levels.

Speaking at a Council meeting last week, the Council's Cabinet member for Housing, Philippa Roe, claimed that there are more than 2,200 Council tenants earning more than £50,000 a year and that the Council should have the power to increase their rents in order to raise more revenue to pay for Council services.

Quite where she got this information is unclear but it is clearly an attack on Westminster's middle-income earners. It will drive many hard working families out of Westminster.

Many Council tenants earning good wages have done so by working hard. To increase their rents for being successful at work would be similar to increasing their taxes. Many Council tenants earning good wages save as much as they can so that they can eventually put down a deposit on a flat or house in Westminster or elsewhere. Increasing rents on those who do well would act as a disincentive to other tenants to build a career and get on in life.

It appears that Westminster Conservatives are more concerned with increasing the Council's revenues than building successful and thriving local communities.

The Conservative's clearly believe that social housing should only be a tenure of last resort, given only to the very poor. This merely reinforces the old stereotypes of ‘sink estates' where few people worked and where ambition was dirty word. Instead of attacking hard-working families they should be glad that so many tenants are in good jobs, helping to make their estates lively and mixed. Why should people now be punished by increased rents because of the financial mistakes made by the Conservatives?

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