The Government believe that tenants on higher incomes should contribute towards a fairer level of rent. More than 90% of tenants will be unaffected by our plans. Many above the threshold will be protected from big rent rises through our tapering approach. This is not about forcing households from their homes.
Given the gap between social and market rents, many of my constituents—teachers, nurses, junior doctors, electricians, bricklayers, call centre staff and shop workers—will pay thousands of pounds extra a year. Will the Minister take this opportunity to confirm that the Government have abandoned any claims to being the workers’ party?
Despite the hon. Lady’s tone, I am sure she agrees that social housing should be prioritised for those most in need. I reassure her and her constituents that the assumption that in the first year thousands of pounds extra could be paid in rent is definitely not the case. We have a taper: for every £1 households earn over the income threshold, they will pay only an extra 15p in rent.
In the past week my local newspaper, Cambridge News, has run a series of articles about the impact of the housing crisis in a high-cost city such as Cambridge. The council warns that the Pay to Stay proposals will affect a significant number of families on modest incomes and in some cases cost them an extra £3,000 a year. What advice can the Minister give to those people? Where should they move to? Should they quit their jobs or do fewer hours?
As I outlined a few moments ago, the hon. Gentleman and the council seem to be basing their figures on a false premise. Once the policy comes into effect, the average cost of housing for people affected will be about 15% of their income, bearing in mind that they are higher earners. In the private rented sector, people are having to pay 50% of their income.
My constituents are always keen to hear news about improving work incentives and making work pay. What will the Minister say to my constituents who have written to me about the Pay to Stay proposals, saying that their introduction will mean a choice between cutting hours, turning down a pay rise or refusing promotion, because it is not economically worth their while to earn extra income?