The idea was first raised last June when housing minister Grant Shapps revealed the plans to the Telegraph. The move now appears to have the prime minister's backing, with a No 10 'source' telling the Guardian:
‘It’s not right that high earners benefit from taxpayer funded housing subsidy. Just as we have introduced a cap on housing benefit and welfare payments to make the system fairer, now we’re acting on social housing too.’Government research claims that up to 6,000 social rented homes in England may be occupied by tenants earing over £100,000 a year, including the left-wing leader of the RMT union, Bob Crow.
It now appears that the limit is more likely to be £60,000 household income, which could raise an additional £122.4m of rental income, whereas the £100,000 threshold originally suggested by Shapps would only raise £21.6m.
The move would leave 34,000 higher earning social tenants facing possible rent increases of up to £70 a week and increase the likelihood that such tenants will decide to take advantage of the new more generous Right to Buy discounts. Meanwhile, landlords will not only face the prospect of having to sell more of their homes at a fraction of their market value, but are likely to have to introduce bureaucratic and intrusive means testing for all tenants.