'Make Better-Off Tenants Pay Higher Rents to Fund New Affordable Housing'

The Evening Standard (London, England), September 24, 2012 | Go to article overview

'Make Better-Off Tenants Pay Higher Rents to Fund New Affordable Housing'


Byline: Martin Bentham

TENS of thousands of affordable homes could be built each year if better-off tenants paid higher rents, a new report says.

Consultancy firm PwC said an extra [pounds sterling]5.6 billion could be raised to pay for the construction of housing association properties if tenants who are not on benefits paid five per cent more.

It said the reform, plus other changes to improve the availability of finance, would allow an extra 42,500 homes a year to be built, without placing any extra burden on the taxpayer.

Today's report also warns that unless such changes are made there will be a shortfall of one million low-cost homes within a decade -- making it ever harder for the most vulnerable in society to find places to live.

Unveiling today's report, Richard Parker, a partner at PwC, said raising rents for higher earning housing association tenants might seem "hardnosed" but offered an important way of tackling the lack of affordable homes.

He added: "No other country in Europe has a one-size-fits-all model for charging rents. Giving housing associations more flexibility could unlock billions in funding without increased government subsidy or impacting those most in need. …

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