Friday, 26 February 2016

New Statesman letter on housing policy

Helen Lewis is absolutely right to compare Brown`s "client state" of public sector workers with the Tories` creation of "one of their own", the "owner-occupiers" (Notebook,19th February,2016). Of course, the government`s housing policy, which has the effect of turning 90% of under 35s into "permanent renters", is unfair, but it does also mean that Generation Rent should not only vote anti-Tory in 2020, but, if Corbyn and co, play their cards properly, should also become Labour`s own "client state". 
     It means Labour has to flesh out its housing policies, with pledges to build more social housing, along with proposals which end the current exploitation. With private renters paying around 40% or more of their income on housing, would the economy not be better served by reducing rents, thereby freeing up income for expenditure elsewhere?
      Rents in the private sector have increased by more than 8% on average in the past year. One in three of rented properties in the private sector is officially classed as "non-decent", whilst one in five present a health or safety risk to the occupier. A solution would be for councils to be given funding to set up an Ofsted-style organisation, given the task of inspecting all rental property and banding it, according to size, condition, location, facilities and safety. The rent to be charged would have to be within the confines determined by the band, with annual increases decided by the council.

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