Friday, 24 April 2015

Labour weak on private rent

Whilst supporting Poll Toynbee's enthusiasm both to endorse inclusions in the Labour manifesto like "a minimum wage of more than £8 an hour, or no cuts to tax credits", and to describe the election as one where there has "rarely been starker political choice", I find it strange that no criticism was offered of the feeble proposal regarding private rents. (Puzzled by the manifestos? The Tories and Labour have swapped clothes,  14/04/15) With the opinion polls showing the party roughly level with the Tories,  an opportunity to gain important extra votes appears to be being scorned.
 With millions living in rented accommodation, often in squalid and unhealthy conditions, and often paying 40% or more of their disposable income in extortionate rent, a Labour pledge for a "clamp on rent rises" seems totally inadequate. Wouldn't a more worthwhile suggestion from a party desperate for votes be for all matters relating to renting and owning property to be placed under the auspices of a Ministry of Housing,  which would be given responsibility for inspecting all rented accommodation. Depending on size, condition and locality, all such property could be placed in bands, similar to council tax ones, with the appropriate level of rent set by the government. The same rules would apply to student accommodation as well, thereby giving young people an extra incentive to vote Labour. 

It would also provide another reason for all fair minded voters to remove from government the parties which have disgracefully allowed this recent form of Rachmanism to flourish. They will not forget,  either,  what happened the last time a Tory government promised to replace sold council houses "with a more affordable, cheaper property on a one-for one-for basis"; it simply didn't happen, and Labour must ensure everyone remembers! (Conservative manifesto to offer 1.3m families right to buy housing association homes,14/04/15)

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