Miliband is taking on the vested interests – and going big on housing

30th April, 2014 10:00 pm

Ed Miliband is making a major policy move – and it ticks all of the boxes. It’s big, it’s certainly bold, it addresses one of the key inequalities in British society and one of the key drivers of the cost of living crisis for millions.

Under a Labour government, those renting in the UK would have the right to stay in the same home for at least three years, and keep their rent manageable by limiting rent rises by either inflation or average rent rises in that area. Labour sources are saying that it’s wrong to call this rent controls or rent caps, but frankly, whether it’s accurate or not, that’s what people are going to call it. Ed Miliband is cracking down on price gouging in the private rented sector. He’s intervening in another broken market.

Good. That’s exactly where his message is strongest and where his instincts are best.

housing

So call it rent caps. Call it security of tenancy. Call it what you like – this is something that will make a huge difference to the British property market, and enable millions trapped in the private rented sector who can’t afford to buy able to have a “home of their own”, for three years at a time at least.

As our major cities – and London especially – become increasingly unaffordable, millions are finding themselves trapped in the private rented sector, with landlords inflicting eye-watering year on year increases on tenants. The choice all too often is painful price raise, or saving for an equally expensive deposit. Anyone who’ll tell you that’s not the case hasn’t been there – it’s unpleasant at best, and ruinous at worst. And that’s before the estate agent fees are levied on each move (which, incidentally, Miliband is also pledging to remove for those who rent – passing the cost onto those who own the homes).

This is undoubtedly a big policy – and Labour must be careful not to give the soft sell. Trying to argue that this is a small move or a tidying up of a broken market will only backfire. It’s far better to be bold and honest about what this is and what it does – it’s one of the largest shake-ups of British housing ever. It could shift more people towards the security and affordability of long-term rents. It could allow people to stay in their community for longer rather than drifting from home to home year on year. That’s especially important now that the rented sector isn’t just for students and young people – 9 million people now live in provately rented homes. One million families. Two million children. At present they have no guarantee against being moved out of their home, their community and away from their school and their support network.

This policy is big enough to start putting that right.

But Labour must also be prepared for the onslaught that is to come. There are a great deal of vested interests at play when it comes to the rented sector. Banks and buy-to-let landlords are going to attack this (even though landlords could benefit from longer, secure tenancies and without the yearly search for new tenants). The attacks will be as hyperbolic as they are vicious. Grant Shapps has already compared the policy to that of Venezuela (rather than, you know, New York). Even more violent in their imagery were the Adam Smith Institute, who ludicrously suggested that “only bombing would be worse than rent control”.

We can expect more of this kind of violent and thuggish imagery whenever Miliband attempts something radical. Like with the energy price freeze, the millions who are squeezed can easily be overlooked by those who benefit from the status quo.

One person who’ll no doubt be keen to march out in defence of Miliband on rents is his friend Sadiq Khan, who called for “‘sustainable renting contracts” in his Our London Fabian pamphlet last year, followed that up with calling for rent controls in January, and has been agitating internally for the policy ever since. He’ll feel like he’s got a pretty big win – especially for London – which will do him no harm if he ever wants to be Mayor. And well done to Emma Reynolds too, who told me back in January that this wasn’t Labour policy – but who has worked hard behind the scenes to get the detail right ahead of this announcement.

And it’s to be hoped that this isn’t the last of Miliband’s radicalism. Quite the opposite. The rent pledge is the first in what is planned as a “cost of living contract” – rolled out over the coming months – to highlight Labour’s proposed positive message for Britain. As one senior Labour source told me, the key to winning for Labour is “reconnecting with working people”.

The weeks ahead will give us an indication as to whether Miliband will be rewarded for his boldness, as he was last year with the energy price freeze. But first, he’ll need to go out and sell this as best as he can, he’s going to have to face down some angry opponents first. He just needs to remember that if he gets this right, he has millions of people behind him who will benefit.

Update: It’s worth noting that quarter of all Tory MPs are landlords. Remember that when they’re attacking this…

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  • Robin Wilde

    Bullseye! Shame about the timing though. Might get lost among the UKIP hysteria. Or should I call it Farage-Furore?

    • Ian Robathan

      Well that is up to the party to ensure it is not. The press HAVE to report our launch tomorrow (at least BBC and Sky) and this will play in the areas that count.

    • Jeremy_Preece

      For what it is worth I am convinced that the UKIP hysteria is just the voice of those growing number of disaffected voters. We have had an unsuccessful war in Iraq, which disappointed many Labour voters, then we had the rise of the LibDems as the party of principle – only to see them join the enemy that they had so articulately criticised in their election champagne.
      We have had the lying of the Tories.
      Now a lot of people outside of the parties are feeling that the next election is going to be a two way choice between the LibDems who so badly lied in coalition with the Tories, or the Lib Dems in coalition with Labour, who in their eyes has not distinguished itself enough from the Tories. Therefore they are prepared at the moment to turn to a protest in the form of UKIP.
      Of course the person of Farage is the biggest hypocrite of all, and I am standing in a local election against UKIP (and Tories, the LibDems are not even fielding a candidate this time).
      We know that Farage has offered refuge into the main stream of some real nutters and also some hard line ex BNP racists. However what is going to burst the UKIP bubble is not pointing out the stupidity of their lack of policy and the appeal to the lowest common denominator, what will do it is if the other parties stop appearing “all the same”, and actually offer real choices.
      Therefore I think that this policy announcement is a very welcome step in the right direction, as is the abolition of bedroom tax.
      May be a few more bold policies, like taking back the railways into public ownership, and then people will start to listen.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    I think this is bold, and extremely well intentioned. However, it also seems to me to be two or three orders of magnitude more difficult to control than the essentially simular energy price freeze policy. (similar, in that this will seek to control the rate of increase, in the energy policy by capping increases to zero per cent, in the rents policy by capping price increases to inflation. And yet, the energy policy has 6 big company targets, and a dozen smaller ones. In the rents policy, there are possibly hundreds of thousands of individual renting house owners to control. So more difficult, a pragmatic and apolitical point).

    Think of human nature, from the perspective of the landlord. If this becomes stated Labour policy, a manifesto commitment, it has to be published before the election, and before Labour in Government has the power to actually implement it. Landowners will therefore “price in” the risk of a Labour Government actually enacting this policy. They may already be worried about their BTL mortgages rising, as interest rates are already only going to go upwards in the next 5 years. So instead of perhaps planning a 2% rent increase per annum, they may abruptly raise the rent by 5% or 8% in the pre-election year if they think they will be capped by inflation-only rises for 5 years. It is insurance for them.

    Does Labour want to give the Tories this “ammunition”, even before the election? “Look, Labour’s threats have already caused your rent to rise, and they are not even in Government!”

    • jaydeepee

      Whatiffery!

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        I am sorry, I do not understand your very concise reply. That may be my fault.

        I think I make a reasoned response to the article, and not party political. My thinking is about likelihood and probabilities across hundreds of thousands of landlords, not the subset of landlords who are also Labour voters.

        • rekrab

          ” But his solutions and mine are very different.” you have a solution to the housing problem? lets hear it!

          • gunnerbear

            “something like, those privately owned home owners who have paid off their mortgage shouldn’t gain substantial disposable income waste and should pay a higher community charge, at least 50% of their previous mortgage monthly payments per month.”

            Try selling that on the doorsteps of the town near where I live – full of people trying to get by, paying off their mortgages and just starting out. You want to whack those sensible people – who once used to be the backbone of the Red Mob vote – by saying….

            “Hey, well done, you and your missus have raised kids, worked hard on shifts down at the plant, saved a bit and managed to get your house paid off….great….now…because you worked hard and saved…well we’re going to ramp up your Council Tax because we now think you’ve got too much spare cash…..

            …don’t worry though, you know the family down the road on benefits – the ones allowed to claim up to £26K from the taxpayers….well don’t worry we’re not going to be asking them for any extra….”

    • Steve Stubbs

      Pricing-in a freeze is precisely what the energy companies will do before May 2015. Everyone knows that, and nobody will prevent it. Labour cannot – they are not in power, the regulator will not – reasons unexplained.

  • Grouchy Oldgit

    A step in the right direction but let’s hope its just an interim measure until there is a mass expansion of council housing, a system that worked for many decades until Thatcher’s RTB wrecking ball. Private landlords are not a social service and cannot be blamed for seeking to maximize return on investment, but relying on the private sector is not a good way to house the masses as landlords will only get richer from the rents of the poor or benefits paid from the taxpayer. Far better the taxpayer invests in the asset of homes.

    • JoeDM

      Right lads put the party back into reverse gear. Its back to the good old 1970s we go. Who’s going be first to get those old flares, tie-dyed tee shirts, grow their hair and live in a squat? You’ll have to squat because the rent controls have stopped people from putting property on the market for rent. Ah yes, three day weeks, strikes, winter of discontent, etc….. Those were the days !!!!

      • thewash

        Scaremongering at its worst and entirely irrelevant.

      • Danny

        The DM definitely stands for Daily Mail. What complete, hysterical nonense, even by your standards.

      • Colin McCulloch

        Hi Joe,

        What’s your proposed solution to high private sector rents, if rent caps and controls are not to your taste? Should the working poor continue to languish on social housing waiting lists (whilst we build next to no genuinely affordable housing) and continue to handover the majority of their net income to private landlords?

        Failure to tackle the largely unregulated private rented sector now will eventually take us back in time, yes; however not to the 1970s but to the 1870s.

        Well done Ed Miliband for having the backbone to have a go at this issue. Next up (I hope) is a mass council house building program to get people out of these exorbitant private rents altogether.

        • gunnerbear

          Actually, I can’t see why a LA / HA shouldn’t be allowed to borrow cash from HMG (not the markets) at a reasonable rate and use it to build homes and then use the rent payments to pay off the debt.

          My only other points are that local firms would have to be used and that he LA / HA should be allowed to CPO land from builders where work hasn’t started with in 5 years of the original sale for the usual value plus premium arrangements.

          Perhaps to prevent immediate RTB the law could be set so that the houses couldn’t be sold for at least 40 years once built and that if a persons circumstances change, then they can stay in the house but pay full rent if they so chose. No more ‘Bob Crows’, where people on serious wages were paying far less than they should have been.

          I’m not sure if such a solution makes me left, right or centre.

      • Chris Kitcher

        At least we didn’t have food banks, a destroyed NHS and the extremes of inequality so favoured by the Tories.

      • Theoderic Braun

        Wasn’t Ted Heath Prime Minister of a Conservative government when the country had a three day week?

        • Jeremy_Preece

          Yes you are correct, of course, but JoeDM doesn’t appear to be the sort of chap to let fact or logic get in the way of a first class rant.

  • Socialismo

    Finally, I just got excited.

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  • Dez

    This policy is straight out of Owen Jones playbook,he can be forgiven since like so many of the policies he proposes, he wasn’t around when they were tried before and ended in disaster as in this case in the 70’s.

    Expect many rentals to be re-classified as serviced apartments,holiday lets etc. which won’t be covered by the new legislation,lots of landlords will exit the market and the number of properties to rent will be even less than now.

    Rents will be even higher than before because if your stuck with a tenant for 3 years with limits on increases then the initial & ongoing rent will be much higher than if the increases were spread over several years.

    Surely Ed can get his head around basic economics and only when the supply side increases will rents start to fall.

    I guess the follow on from this will be a 70’s Roy Hattersley full blown prices & incomes policy and we all know how well that workrd..

    Or maybe like Salmond,Ed’s only interested in cheap populist gimmicks,the fact they are not workable is irrelevant. .

    • Socialismo

      The 70’s were a very different time: if people sell BTL houses, great more houses for the rest of us. If not fine, better rental properties for the rest of us.

    • rekrab

      Why shroud all thing in private landlord terms? we’ve had the “right to buy” why not have the “right to buy back” publicly owned houses funded by the proceed of tax?

    • reformist lickspittle

      Stop droning on and on about the 70s, please.

      It is the falings of neoliberalism that most of us are now concerned about.

      • thewash

        The ‘disaster’ as you put it was the election of Thatcher in 1979 and the policies she enacted that left us in the position we are in now.

        • treborc1

          And what Blair could do nothing about you mean.

        • JoeDM

          You seem to have foregotten the dreadful 70s and the ‘winter of discontent’. All the result of failed Labour policies and a weak wet Tory party that was afraid to take a lead and just stood by and let it happen.

        • Steve Stubbs

          Do you actually remember the ’70s? One enormous growing shambles that had us labelled as ‘the sick man of europe’ Which is precisely why the Blair government did not seek to undo the thatcher reforms, they were not going back there.

      • Mouch

        Clearly you’re not someone who lived through the nightmare

        • reformist lickspittle

          I was around in the 1970s.

          Just that it is irrelevant, almost ancient, history now.

      • Doug Smith

        Labour’s James Callaghan signed up to neo-liberalism in the mid-seventies and announced his allegiance with his “can’t spend our way out of recession” speech. Thatcher and Blair/Brown continued along the same path.

        As yet there’s no indication that Miliband/Labour has the insight, imagination or desire to move on.

  • Daniel Speight

    Update: It’s worth noting that quarter of all Tory MPs are landlords. Remember that when they’re attacking this…

    And did I read it correctly this morning Mark that 12.5% of PLP are also landlords? Seems worth keeping that in mind also.

    • rekrab

      Touche! Daniel.

    • thewash

      Your point is not relevant to the argument that those who will oppose the policy will include 25% of Tory MPs. The 12.5% of Labour MPs are unlikely too oppose the policy.

      • Daniel Speight

        One would expect that 100% of the Tories would be opposing this and hope that 100% of the PLP would support it. That some Labour MPs became mini-property magnates in the past is an embarrassment. John Reid comes to mind. That some Labour MPs did quite well out property allowances while in the commons and after also comes to mind with Hazel Blears as an example. Things aren’t as simple as they used to be, are they? If, like Mark did, you want to use a touch of class war, best to check where our own people stand;-)

        • gunnerbear

          “If, like Mark did, you want to use a touch of class war, best to check where our own people stand;-)”

          Cynical but brilliant. Top Notch.

  • Daniel Speight

    Now I don’t mind Miliband finishing off neo-liberal economics with a death by a thousand cuts, but could the cuts come a bit quicker please.

    If we believe what thinkers like Piketty are telling us, that wealth is accumulating with the wealthiest at an unsustainable rate, then we need a government prepared to make social democratic reforms at a pace equivalent to the 1945 Attlee government to turn the tide. Now is the time for Ed to show some courage and be prepared to go for a lot more than just austerity-lite leavened with a few bits of populism.

  • Daniel Speight

    And a happy May Day to anyone who remembers what it used to be and what it still is in many countries.

    • Jack Fate

      Happy May Day

      • Daniel Speight

        And hats off to brave marchers in Istanbul and Phnom Penh both suffering police brutality.

    • Steve Stubbs

      Yup. All those happy folks dancing around Maypoles, before the hard left hijacked it into a celebration of despotic Communism and it’s fellow travelers.

      Lets get back to the maypoles please.

      • Daniel Speight

        Yup those happy farm labourers dancing around a maypole because it was the day off the farmers gave them, the 1st. May being the day of St. Joseph the Worker of course. It has long been adopted by the British trade union as an urban workers day also. Still Steve you stick with the Morris dancers OK.

  • David Pavett

    Mark Ferguson says “Ed Miliband is making a major policy move – and it ticks all of the boxes. It’s big, it’s certainly bold, it addresses one of the key inequalities in British society”. If that is based, as it appears to be, on the text of Miliband’s speech to which a link is given then I am at a loss to know how this assessment can be justified.

    Miliband will say “”… the next Labour government will legislate to make three year tenancies the standard in the British private rented sector to giving people who rent the certainty they need. These new longer-term tenancies will limit the amount that rents can rise by each year too – so landlords know what they can expect each year and tenants can’t be surprised by rents that go through the roof.”

    But when you look at the detail (that bit where the devil is usually found) things don’t look quite so cut and dried.

    1. Tenants would be on a 6 month “probation period”. They can be removed if they fail he “probation” by “for example” falling into arrears or anti-social behaviour …. If those are just “examples” then what are the other grounds?

    2. Landlords could terminate contracts if the tenant breachers their tenancy agreement. What can be built into such agreements to make this easy?

    3. Landlords could terminate contracts if they want to sell the property. It is easy to imagine some cosy ways this could be arranged between landlords and within their families and associates.

    4. Landlords could terminate contracts if they want to refurbish the property!

    Then there are get-out clauses depending on the buy-to-let mortgage arrangements.

    Doesn’t sound like security to me.

    As for rents they would be initially set based on “market value” i.e. on the maximum that can be obtained, just like now.

    Rents could then rise in accordance with market conditions, just like now.

    Just what is big and bold about this? Am I missing something?

    • JoeDM

      Those are sensible points that allow Landlords to manage their property and ensure that the rental market is not loaded against them.

      The last thing a future Labour Government would want to do is legislate private landlords into a property selloff and see the supply of private rental property to dry up.

      • Andrew Fisher

        If they sold their property off, either other landlords would buy it or people currently renting would – extra supply hitting market would also bring down house prices – which is ultimately the only solution

        The best way to do that is mass building of council homes, undercutting PRS landlords.

        • treborc1

          Sadly that’s not going to win labour to many swing voters.

          • toptophat

            It would get mine…

      • Steve Stubbs

        Like the previous rent acts did. They moved the nation from being majority renters to being majority owners over a period of a few years, driving house prices through the roof. Lets not repeat the mistakes of the past.

        • Mark Reilly

          What is the evidence that it was rent controls that reduced the size of the Private Rental market as opposed to other major changes such as a massive extension of Local Authority housing after WWII, the easing of credit and mortgage regulations from the 70s onwards and ironically given all the comments concerning the dire 1970s on this page the fact that the Post War settlement created better paid and more stable jobs allowing many more workers to contemplate buying a property

          • gunnerbear

            “on this page the fact that the Post War settlement created better paid and more stable jobs….”

            Which is perfectly true but then the world moves on and post-60s, other nations of the world started to give us a bit of a beating by producing stuff people wanted at a better price…….

          • Jeremy_Preece

            I would suggest that the reality of rentals is that you can end up paying the same in rent per month as you would for a mortgage. Net result, in the first case you would have no rights and can expect to be thrown out when the landlord has had enough, and if you have the mortgage then at least you build up your own capital.

            With rental you pay for twenty-five to thirty years and remain at square one, and with mortgage you end up owning the property. Therefore if you want people to rent then they need better terms and conditions, and they need rents that are significantly less than mortgage.

            Because it is so hard for young people to get mortgages today, the result is that landlords with extra capital can buy to let and ,make an absolute fortune. This is just another way in which the rich get considerably richer off the backs of everyone else.

        • Colin McCulloch

          Ah but 32% of country lived in social rented accommodation in 1978 – are you suggesting that the remainder were comprised of mainly owner occupiers?

        • treborc1

          Why not we have been doing it for years, lets not forget the Tories have made some cracking blunders of the past, we only need to look back at the Thatcher period it was so good even Blair fell for it.

    • Doug Smith

      Looks like a piece of policy triangulation from Miliband in the time-honoured New Labour tradition.

      Now that he’s ended the collective link to the trade unions Miliband may as well speak up plainly and simply on behalf of the business community. But I suppose, as the Tories already occupy that ground, there’s not many votes to be won so he has to pretend to be on the side of ordinary people.

    • treborc1

      What about Labour will build social housing , and labour will ensure that nobody in private or social housing will be affected by the bedroom tax.

      To far…

      • David Pavett

        The opposition to the bedroom tax is good. The building of social housing is desirable but Labour’s record is not good so it is a matter of wait and see.

    • PoundInYourPocket

      Precisely – I fail to see the link between the hysteria of this “wow – how radical” article and the actual policy detail – scant though it is.
      Have the posters on this site actuall read the policy ?
      There is nothing radical here:
      “Rents could still be reviewed upwards, downwards or stay the same, subject to market conditions.”
      The only benefit I can see is that there will be some unspecified limit to upfont agency charges.
      Has Labour become so utterly starved of ambition that this puny measure is hailed as “radical”. I am frankly aghast.
      There is a major housing crisis with only one real solution, which is to build , build and build. It is land prices due to restrictive Green Belt policy that is leading to housing scarcity. Radical would be to unlease a mass house building scheme. Not just a toy vilage but at least 1,000,000 units. I welcome Milibands 200,000 homes pledge. But let’s be honest in our policy appraisal. This is a non-event as was the so called “Energy-Freeze” in which the big six can freeze at a higher price. Please look up “radical” in the dictionary.

    • Holly

      Miliband also says that RICS are helping with the ‘benchmark’ on what the limits should be…..IF ONLY Miliband had let them know what they were doing eh?
      RICS are not doing anything of the sort apparently.
      Maybe they will, now the great new Labour leader has spoken.
      A lot like the Shadow Housing minister Emma Reynolds, who is going around explaining why she now supports rent caps, when only four short months ago, (back in January) when on ch4, she said,’Rent caps are not going to work in practice’.

      Looks like a case of the left hand not knowing what the….erm….left hand is doing, and will now try to con us into thinking they meant to flip & flop, tell half truths, and basically end up looking completely at odds with….erm….themselves. and their knowledge of their own position on stuff.
      Who needs the Tories to poo poo Labour ideas, when they are perfectly capable of doing it themselves.
      Did no one ever tell them, liars/con artists need to have a good memory.

    • PoundInYourPocket

      Precisely – I fail to see the link between the hysteria of this “wow – how radical” article and the actual policy detail – scant though it is.
      Have the posters on this site actuall read the policy ?
      There is nothing radical here:
      “Rents could still be reviewed upwards, downwards or stay the same, subject to market conditions.”
      The only benefit I can see is that there will be some unspecified limit to upfont agency charges.
      Has Labour become so utterly starved of ambition that this puny measure is hailed as “radical”. I am frankly aghast.
      There is a major housing crisis with only one real solution, which is to build , build and build. It is land prices due to restrictive Green Belt policy that is leading to housing scarcity. I welcome Milibands (equally unabitious) 200,000 homes / year pledge. But let’s be honest in our policy appraisal. This is a non-event as was the so called “Energy-Freeze” in which the big six can freeze at a higher price. Please look up “radical” in the dictionary.

  • Ronald Mac

    Hmm, rents are decided by income, not inflation. Incomes are not rising, and despite everything the media says, rents haven’t risen much either – my rent is the same as in 2002! By explicitly having a policy that puts escalators in place, you normalise the idea with landlords that inflation linked increases can be justified. This is not a good idea. House prices have been inflated by hoodwinking the public into thinking debt is wealth, and this is just an attempt to get the rental yield in line. The differences is whilst lying on mortgage applications is a national past time condoned by the powers that be, the same rentier powers that be cannot extract income in the form of rent on tenants that isn’t there any further now given the crushing lack of wage inflation. The only way to extract this is to put everyone onto housing benefit who isn’t in a house and raise those caps. Not a great plan, and hardly a sustainable one. None of the major parties cares about renters, as they are all rentiers.

  • Downsman

    Attacking the symptom not the cause is lazy and will backfire. What is needed is a major housebuilding programme based on a series of new towns. Build the houses and rents will find their level. Choice is what people want.

    • Danny

      A major housebuilding programme will take years. You can attack the symptoms quickly. It’s the right thing to do.

      • Steve Stubbs

        Not if it kills the patient ……..

  • markmyword49

    The quickest way to force down both rents (or stabilise them) and increase the number of houses available for first time buyers is to make “buy to let” less profitable for landlords. A 16.3% return is extravagant. Make mortgage lending for BTL harder to acquire and change the tax system so that the rest of us aren’t subsidising the sector.
    No national politician is going to do much about the rented sector. Why? Quite simply because too many of them are landlords themselves and turkey’s don’t vote for Christmas.

    • Steve Stubbs

      The only sustainable way to force down rents is to build more housing. A novel concept on this forum of course, it is called Supply and demand. Any artificial attempt to hold down rents is doomed to ultimate failure.

      • markmyword49

        OK then get government to return the funds from the sale of council houses back to the appropriate local authority so that they can use it to spend on replacement social housing. By the way its not just the Conservative administrations that have withheld those funds Labour were just as stupid.
        The UK shouldn’t be held hostage by the private house building industry whose main driving force is the largest profit possible not on producing the largest number of housing units. They quite like the current system which allows them to blame someone else for not creating enough.

        • Steve Stubbs

          Agreed, money raised from sales of public assets should be returned to those who provided it in the first place. (Was that the councils though? Just a thought …..) And reform the archaic planing laws that are preventing huge numbers of housing projects being built.

          • markmyword49

            I don’t see the planning laws as a major problem. 90% of applications are passed with little or no objections. Looking at the refusals the majority aren’t ones from major house builders but from what are infill projects by small builders. The major house builders have expert teams to write up their applications and even where there are local objectors their concerns tend to get short shrift from the planning committee. As I said in my previous post major house builders use the planning regulations as a cover for their not building houses when they know that they aren’t going to make the highest profits from a site at a given time in the economic cycle.

  • EricBC

    Rents have already risen so much that allowing increases in line with inflation or locality is equivalent to guaranteeing landlords that their exorbitant charges can be maintained.

    This is all too late.

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  • Steve Stubbs

    Based on our Labour standard naming tradition, this must now be referred to as the ‘Rent Tax’. 🙂

  • Saddo

    Some points comrades:

    Brown/Balls/Mili completely screwed up pensions so lots of people now have rental properties instead so they can an income when they retire. Now Mili wants to screw up the rental market. What a guy!

    When Mili was in the last government, he introduced masses of house building regulations under the green banner that make houses a lot more expensive to build. Net result, less houses being built and when they are, more expensive houses. What a guy!

  • swatnan

    So thats what Big Gord’s has been upto! Treading the boards at The Ambassadors, moonlighting. No wonder he’s rarely seen; all those late nights theatricals clash with pesky HoC’s Meetings. Priorities First.

  • ColinAdkins

    Ed,
    Many of us were right to have confidence in you. The other part of the equation is to remove the landlords’ spare home(s) subsidy through the tax system. Hopefully this will force some of these houses onto the market and my recollection of basic economics will help to push the price down by increasing supply.
    However comrade you need to put this into somekind of coherent narrative.

  • treborc1

    The average rent in my area monthly between £400 to £800 the council rent is just slighly over £105 a week for a three or four bedroom house.

    What is the average rental in London.

    The average monthly rent in private accomodation in London is £1233 – rises by about 3.1% a year.

    The average rent for council housing in London is £396 per month. that’s the same as mine give or take a quid.

    The private sector of course works on demand if you have a demand they will up the price and when you see the demand in London and it growing, more and more people are going to London even from the EU they see London as the place to be yet wages are not going up at all.

    Yet look at when you need to find space in London you can do it look at the Olympic games they found space for that and now are talking about no social homes being build or very little.

    What we need of course is to make London a place to live by having more social housing, not affordable housing most of the people in my area still cannot afford labour and it’s labour in Wales affordable homes policies. An affordable home on average is £90,000 the average wage in my area is £12,500 you will not get a mortgage on that, how many council houses have we build in the last 20 years none, Blair built zero yet he sold over 1200 in my backwater yet we are building affordable houses for the middle class brilliant.

  • Jeremy_Preece

    I cannot remember the actual figure, but a very substantial number of ex council houses are now being rented out by private landlords. (no doubt some readers on this site will know the figure).
    This shows the downside to council house sell offs. It also shows the need for much more social housing. Maybe it should be that if we also had affordable housing, those in social housing who manage to do well and have aspiration should then move to the affordable housing and vacate the social housing for the next tenant who needs it.
    If there is to be a right to buy, then there should be strings attached to prevent the renting out of former social housing.
    Either way we are seeing developers using the economic situation to persuade councils to reduce the number of social housing that they are supposed to provide as a condition of new developments. What we actually need is a programme of building a much greater supply of social housing. I also think that these should be in and amongst other housing so that we don’t end up with social housing ghettos.

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