Search

Islington housing campaigners: ‘People power got rid of Pay to Stay...but we can’t stop fighting Housing Act’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 November 2016 | UPDATED: 09:49 25 November 2016

The 'lslington Kill the Housing Bill' protest from Clerkenwell in March. Picture: Vickie Flores

The 'lslington Kill the Housing Bill' protest from Clerkenwell in March. Picture: Vickie Flores

Vickie Flores/Archant

Housing campaigners have urged Islington families to continue fighting the Housing Act – despite the government abolishing its hated “pay to stay” policy.

The 'lslington Kill the Housing Bill' protest from Clerkenwell in March. Picture: Vickie Flores The 'lslington Kill the Housing Bill' protest from Clerkenwell in March. Picture: Vickie Flores

Pay to stay, also known as the “tenant tax”, was an element of the Act targeting council households earning £40,000 or more: 15p extra rent would have been imposed for every £1 over £40,000. It was scrapped on Monday.

Hundreds of tenants were outraged at the plans, sparking a huge “Islington Kill the Housing Bill” march from Clerkenwell in March and an Upper Street “sleep-out” protest in April.

Glyn Robbins, from the campaign, told the Gazette this week: “This proves people getting together and fighting for things they believe in can make a difference. It is accumulated pressure that has led us to this victory, and that needs to continue.”

Other aspects of the legislation would ban lifelong tenancies, and force Islington to sell off up to 400 of its council houses a year.

And Mr Robbins, who manages the Quaker Court Estate in Clerkenwell, added: “It’s now important to remember the tenant tax wasn’t the only part of the act. The entire bill has to go as we still have a massive housing crisis, and this will only make it worse. We must continue to fight.”

Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Islington’s housing leader, added: “We are pleased the government has listened and will not now force working people to pay more tax, simply because they are council tenants.

The 'lslington Kill the Housing Bill' protest from Clerkenwell in March. Picture: Vickie Flores The 'lslington Kill the Housing Bill' protest from Clerkenwell in March. Picture: Vickie Flores

“However, the government still doesn’t understand that everyone has the right to feel secure in their home. It is determined to push ahead with its plans to ban lifetime tenancies. There is much that it needs to urgently rethink.

“We will continue to campaign to against these plans, which do nothing to deal with the housing crisis.”

Penelope McGhie, a 56-year-old actress, has lived in a Newington Green council home for 19 years.

She said: “I’m so relieved. It’s very difficult to make a decent income from acting, and your good years have to see you through your bad years.

“If the government wanted me to pay an additional tax based on my previous year’s income, I could have ended up paying it despite earning virtually nothing in the year that it actually had to be paid.

“You feel very powerless when a group of people in Westminster are making life-changing decisions about your home. We have a housing crisis and we need to fight again.”

The Housing Act was passed into law earlier this year, but is yet to be imposed. Critics claim the Act, which the government says will help boost home ownership, is unworkable in practice.

UPDATE: Pay to stay was formally rejected by the council executive at a meeting of the town hall on Thursday, November 24.

Related articles

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington News Stories

Lee Jay Hatley’s alleged murderer accidentally knifed him in a “scuffle”, a court heard today.

16:14

Two moped thugs from Islington have been locked up for more than three years after being chased and caught with 17 stolen phones.

Two homeless women who had been sleeping under the Stroud Green Road bridge for a year have been offered housing – weeks after the Gazette published the tragic stories of how they had ended up there.

10:17

Islington is notorious for brutally high rent. But a brilliant yoga centre for people with special needs has been given a brand new premises for just £1,000 a year.

Migrants who arrive in Islington face a daunting prospect: mountains of government paperwork in a language they often aren’t familiar with; a ban on getting certain state benefits; and no legal help.

11:43

Dozens of new council homes were unveiled on Finsbury’s King Square Estate yesterday as part of a major regeneration.

Yesterday, 19:01

It was a lesson in politics for a set of inquisitive youngsters during a visit to the council chamber at Islington Town Hall.

Yesterday, 15:42

Today, it’s the pricey trampoline park that has the Sobell in the headlines. Four (and a bit) decades ago, it opened amid similar protests about how much it would cost. In between, it played a crucial role in Britain’s decision to join and then leave the EEC and the EU. The Gazette chats to 1970s Sobell manager Hywel Griffiths.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now