The Tories suffered a double humiliation on Monday as two amendments to their flagship Housing and Planning Bill were passed in the House of Lords.
This follows defeats last week to the Tories’ plans to build 200,000 “affordable” £450,000 starter homes by 2020.
Both of the amendments on Monday change the “Pay to Stay” part of the bill. If passed unamended, people living in council housing would have to pay full market rents if they earn over £30,000, or over £40,000 in London, between them.
The first amendment, passed by 240 votes to 176, means that councils will have control over whether to apply the policy or not.
The second, passed by 281 to 179 votes sets a 10 percent limit on the amount that councils can increase rent over the thresholds. So, for every £1 a person earns over £30,000, they would pay an extra 10p in rent.
This means that council tenants would still have to pay full market rents if they have decent pay.
Glynn Robbins, a member of the Unite union housing workers branch, told Socialist Worker, “The bill is poison—the amendments dilute it but it is still poison.”
The votes are a reflection of the deep unpopularity of the bill and show the weakness of the Tories. Each direction Cameron turns, a new crisis is lying in wait.