The London Borough of Camden has asked LSE London to research the likely effects of a number of forthcoming housing-policy changes, singly and combination on the employment of social tenants and the London economy.
The policies are:
- ‘Pay to stay’ – council tenants with incomes above a threshold will be required to pay more in rent
- Voluntary right to buy – housing associations will offer sitting tenants the right to buy their properties at a discount, as council tenants already can. They will be reimbursed by central government for these discounts using money coming from the deemed sale of high-value voids – local authorities must consider selling high-value properties when they become empty, and will be required to remit the funds to central government (whether or not they actually sell the units).
These policies are contained in the Housing and Planning Bill 2015, which is now making its way through Parliament. They can be expected to reduce the supply of social housing in Camden in the short and medium term, and probably permanently.
This research focuses on identifying the effects of these changes on the work incentives for existing and prospective tenants, and on the supply of labour for central and inner London employers. The research involved a review of academic and grey literature and analysis of administrative and statistical data (including the Labour Force Survey). We also conducted a programme of interviews with housing providers in Camden, and central London firms and organisations that would be likely to employ social tenants. Finally, we conducted a focus group with Camden social tenants who were seeking or had recently found employment, and hosted a round table for employers at LSE.