Private Rented Sector

Part of Opposition Day — [2nd Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 1:23 pm on 25th June 2014.

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Photo of Frank Dobson Frank Dobson Labour, Holborn and St Pancras 1:23 pm, 25th June 2014

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend.

Things generally have been getting worse, but there has been one enormous change for the better: the Labour party’s commitment to regulating rents and providing security of tenure in a way not proposed for a very long time. I am delighted to welcome this development, although personally I would go rather further. However, it is the right thing to do, it is popular, certainly with Londoners, and it is an approach that works.

We had the “less than GCSE” economics lecture a few minutes ago on the merits of encouraging investment in the private sector, and how it would be damaged by regulation. That ignores all the European evidence. Germany and Switzerland have a heavily regulated private sector, including rent regulation, and they have the highest proportion of people living in the private rented sector. They live, generally speaking, in rather good quality private sector flats and houses, certainly better than the average here. People in the Netherlands, where the first rent that anyone can charge is set, are better housed than most people in Britain. We simply cannot go on with the current situation—ruinously high rents—under this Lib Dem-Tory coalition.

Last year, the average weekly rent in London was 51% of average weekly pay. It is now 55%, which is clearly ruinous for tenants.