A housing association planning to demolish flats on Northwold estate has come under fire for reducing the number of homes for low-income tenants nationwide.
Emily Jost, a resident on the estate who is campaigning against the demolitions, told the Hackney Post, “It’s so disgusting, isn’t it? What they’re meant to do is provide genuinely affordable, not the Newspeak version of affordable.”
In its Annual Review for the 2015/16 financial year, The Guinness Trust housing association announced, “We increased our income from Affordable Rents from £14.6m to £21.1m, through 559 conversions from social rent and through the letting of new homes at affordable rent.”
“Social rent” is calculated to be affordable to people on low incomes, while “affordable rent”, a definition introduced under the coalition government, is valued at 80 per cent of the local average market rate.
Ms Jost said, “That’s their job. That’s what they were set up to do. They shouldn’t be trying to make profit – they should be housing people in need.”
According to the Greater London Authority, 19,000 conversions have been approved since 2011, when the policy was introduced, but London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced in September that he would end the practice.
A Guinness spokeswoman said: “The level of government subsidy for creating new affordable homes has been significantly reduced over recent years. To continue to build the new homes that the country needs, and in line with government policy, some of our homes must be let at affordable rents, which are higher than social rents, but below market rents.”
Photo credit: Lambeth housing activists