Them & Us

Housing hypocrisy

Housing association bosses who oversaw a drop in affordable home building have received fat raises, according to the Times.

The top 50 associations built 6.3% fewer homes in the past 12 months. Many chiefs have had inflation-busting pay rises of 10%, and earn an average of £200,000 a year. Top bosses can earn up to £350,000.

Yvonne Arrowsmith, head of East Thames Group, presided over just 153 new builds – a 45% fall from the previous year. She ‘earned’ £155,000 for her efforts.

While chief execs rake it in, the housing crisis only worsens. The ‘market failure’ is most acute in London. Nearly a third of boroughs – nine out of 32 – have zero properties for sale at less than the UK average of £191,812.

Only in Bexley, an outer south-east London borough, is there a property available for under £100,000. The average London price is £530,409. That’s nearly 40 years’ full-time salary after tax on the Tories’ new National ‘Living’ Wage for over-25s.

The Socialist campaigns for a mass programme of publicly owned home construction, immediate rent controls, and a £10 an hour minimum wage now with no exceptions.

Tax attacks

The Tories have paid for their humiliating u-turn on tax credit cuts by slyly postponing the theft.

An Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) report has exposed the government’s plan. The nightmarish ‘Universal Credit’ system, which aims to consolidate benefits into one easy-to-cut package, will reinstate the tax credit reduction. As previously reported in the Socialist, this attack could cost working families up to £1,700 a year.

Tax credit cuts for us, tax cuts for them. The OBR estimates that Osborne’s latest budget represents a tax giveaway of £56 billion to big business and the super-rich.