01 September 2011

Hammersmith to make council tenants pay £1m more a year for the same services: pensioners, women and disabled among hardest hit

Continuing their attack on residents living on low incomes, Hammersmith & Fulham Tories intend to make council tenants pay over a million pounds more a year for the same services over the next few years. Among the hardest hit will be pensioners, young people starting their first job, disabled people, pregnant women, new mothers and single women.

A report to be agreed at the H&F council meeting on 5 September spells out in black and white how, by changing the way it calculates service charges, the Conservative council expects tenants to start paying more for the same services within two years and for their charges to increase by over a million pounds a year by 2016.
“The potential impact on the Housing Revenue Account… is additional net income  [i.e. extra costs to council tenants] of: 2012/13 £Nil, 2013/14 £116,0002014/15 £436,000, 2015/16 £748,000, 2016/17 £1,052,000(see para 6.2 of the report here).
Every single council tenant will end up paying more:
“The implementation of tenant service charges will impact on all Council tenants. It will in the longer term mean that the total charge to tenants increases to a higher rate than it would without the implementation of service charges” (para 9.1).
And the poorest will be bear the greatest brunt of the charges:
“This may impact disproportionately on groups who have a lower income level, especially those who may be disproportionately represented in Council stock” (para 9.2).
The accompanying equality impact analysis states that those hit "disproportionately" will include people of retirement age, those who have just started work, disabled people, pregnant women and new mothers -- indeed, women as a whole, "particularly single women".

Fresh-faced Cllr Andrew Johnson, Cabinet member for Housing, will be leading the charge against these local residents on Monday. Can this really be what he came into politics for?

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