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Government agrees with SP: Brussels must raise income threshold for social housing

February 3rd, 2012Sadet KarabulutSP Member of Parliament Sadet Karabulut describes herself as ‘delighted’ with Home Affairs Minister Liesbeth Spies’ declaration yesterday that she is prepared to go to Brussels to discuss increasing the income threshold for social housing from its current level of €34,000. The ceiling has been imposed ostensibly to protect commercial landlords from unfair competition. “What a relief,” Karabulut says. “Spies will be acting on my motion, which was supported by Parliament, after a single debate, something which her predecessor neglected to do following debate after debate.”

The SP Member of Parliament also expressed her astonishment at the about turn performed yesterday by Labour MP Jacques Monasch during the same debate. “After months of having taken this up together, he withdrew his support for our proposal,” she says. “In doing so he left low-to-middle income tenants who are currently caught between two stools in the lurch.”

Monasch’s reasons for his reversal remain unclear, though he launched an alternative plan to make it possible for housing associations to build more expensive accommodation. “That’s no solution to this problem,” says Karabalut. “Not in the short term because as a result of the crisis very few will be built. But also not in the longer term. People who earn just a bit more than €34.000 will have to pay €800 euro per month for an apartment, which many people will be unable to afford.” Spies will, however, raise the question of the feasibility of Labour’s plan with the Brussels authorities.

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