Sunday, 19 January 2014

Labour needs to help private tenants

The news that a large proportion of the council houses bought under Thatcher`s Right to Buy scheme are now owned by the Buy to Rent brigade, and the fact that the same sort of people were the ones who took most advantage of the coalition`s Help to Buy scheme, make it very important for Labour to develop decisive policies in this area. People on benefits being refused rental accommodation, housing benefits going straight into the pockets of profiteering landlords, and rent increases way above inflation all make it absolutely essential for Labour to act, especially as they need to regain lost support in view of a possible resurgence of Tory fortunes before the election. A register of all landlords is totally insufficient!
   Four  ideas for starters:
a) As private rents are universally acknowledged to be too high, the imposition of a rent cap does not go far enough. First requirement is that all rents be returned to 2010, possibly earlier, levels, and then capped at,say,10% above the social rent levels in the area.
b) No houses on the market, either renovated or just built, to be sold to anyone not prepared to make it home for themselves or children; in other words, not for renting out to tenants.
c) All monies gained by landlords from rents higher than 10% above social rent levels to be taxed at 100%.

d) All local authorities to have a team of property inspectors to check all housing being privately rented.
             If Labour cares about the cost of living crisis, about the recent revelation that Britain is now 28th out of 34 in the equality league table, and about restoring an element of fairness into our society, then it must give serious consideration to these ideas.

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