UNISON welcomes end of compulsory ‘Pay to Stay’ policy

Government says it will not press ahead with plan which would have forced council in England to charge market rents to so-called high earners

UNISON has welcomed the government’s announcement that it has abandoned plans which would force councils in England to charge full market rents to so called higher earning tenants, in a policy known as “Pay to Stay”.

The measure was part of the 2016 Housing and Planning Act and would mean anyone whose household income was more than £31,000 a year – or £40,000 in London – would have been forced to pay more rent for their social home or lose it.

This was voluntary for housing associations but would have been compulsory for councils.

UNISON campaigned against a policy which would have seen thousands of families facing rent hikes, financial hardship or losing their home.

“We called for the policy to be abolished or made voluntary and,” commented assistant policy officer Sylvia Jones.

She welcomed the fact that the government has “listened to our concerns and those of housing campaigners and is scrapping the policy, which would have levied a ‘rent tax’ on hard working tenants.”

Councils and housing associations will continue to have local discretion on whether they wish to charge market rents.