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Apr 09 2013

Harrow Council Might Pay You £20,000 to Leave the Country

harrow_council_logoUnder plans proposed by Harrow Council, it seems that tenants could be offered £20,000 of Council Tax-Payers money to leave the country. The plans are just parts of proposals detailed in reports for the Tenants,  Leaseholders and Residents Consultative Forum published recently:

“Where a tenant is seeking to move outside of the UK (for example to retire, to return to a former residence or to be closer to family or friends), a cash incentive could be paid to the tenant. The proposed incentive would be up to £20,000 per move, depending on the size of the property being freed-up.”

What happens if the ex-resident moves back to the UK, and presents themselves as homeless? No idea – they don’t say, but it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that they re-qualify for council-provided accommodation, of course.

Far worse is Labour’s proposal to take out interest-only mortgages at credit card interest rates to finance its offer of £80,000 “interest-free” loans for five years to some tenants to help with their mortgage costs. Reading the small print reveals that Labour is not only proposing to just service the interest on these loans but will be using other council tenants’ rent to do so. At £16,000 per year in interest, this works out at an annual interest rate of 20% – and then, after 5 years, the household will face having to borrow an extra £80,000 or be made homeless.

What happens if the household ends up homeless? No idea.

Leader of Harrow’s Conservative Group, Cllr Susan Hall, says: “That Labour is even considering spending such large sums on such questionable schemes is extremely alarming; I think our residents and tenants deserve better than an administration which has such a flippant attitude towards their money and their futures.”

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7 comments

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  1. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    If you make yourself intentionally homeless you don’t qualify to be rehoused. You research everything else so thoroughly I’m surprised you didn’t look into that one Paul!

    1. May I refer my learned friend to parts VI and VII of the Housing Act, 1996? And also to Steward v Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames (2006)? But that’s why I said it’s “…not beyond the bounds of possibility…”

  2. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    Paul I don’t know those cases but I have been a trainee lawyer and I have studied the English legal system, I do posess a 2-1 Honours Law Degree and completed the Legal Practice Course and I assure you there is no way a Civil Lit High Court Red Coat Judge would ever uphold a claim for rehousing after the claimant had made themselves deliberately homeless on a cash immigration deal! It just ain’t ever gonna happen!

  3. AllThingsGood

    At what point do you suppose Harrow Council and the Labour leader will ask us the taxpayer, whose money they are spending, what we think?

  4. Praxis Reform

    I would imagine contract law kicks in, whereby you sign a document waiving any right to claim housing in exchange for the “incentive”.

    Of course the fact that our Conservative government and our Labour council are still trying to inflate house prices doesn’t bode well for when the bubble bursts.

  5. Linda Robinson

    This story has made national news with Inside Housing, and there are some interesting comments posted there too:

    http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/tenancies/tenants-could-be-offered-cash-to-leave-country/6526472.article?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Ocean+Media+&utm_campaign=2363116_IH+Daily+news+12%2f4%2f13&dm_i=1HH2,1ENE4,7UMT7O,4S10R,1

    For example, where Bob Curries says ‘The cash would be available for people who were already considering a move’, someone’s posted ‘Why not wait until they’ve gone and save £20,000?’ Sound like a fair question to me!

  6. Praxis Reform

    I wonder if Bob Currie has just bought a new house? £20,000 would make a decent contribution towards furniture, fixtures and fittings.

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