Sir, George Osborne’s adjustment to the “pay to stay” tax only demonstrated how disconnected the conservatives are from reality. An increase of £10,000 (from £40,000 to £50,000 as an income threshold) at which Housing Association tenants would become liable to pay market rents for their homes is a ludicrous and ineffective conciliatory gesture.

For the sake of perspective, a mortgage of five times an annual salary of £75,000 would still be £25,000 short of the minimum price of so-called “affordable” housing in London, which is set at £400,000. How can the chancellor believe people with an income of £50,000 are earning too much to live in Housing Association properties when those same people cannot afford to purchase equivalent properties upon the open market? This point, I think, demonstrates a clear lack of understanding of the housing problems facing this country at the moment. Surely it is time this policy was dropped or at least revised in line with market conditions to properly take into account not only a household’s income but also a tenant’s age and their chances of securing an affordable mortgage during their 40s, 50s or even 60s! Failure to do this is to fundamentally propose a government policy which is clearly out of touch with the market conditions.

Gary Williamson

London WC1, UK

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.