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It is a pleasure to follow James Cartlidge.
I want to focus my comments on private rented accommodation and fairness. We all know that there are many fantastic private landlords out there across the country who offer a high-quality service for the people living in their accommodation, but we also know that there are many who do not. The issue of fairness concerns who pays to regulate this sector. Who foots the bill for dealing with some of the problems that are identified? We have all, I am sure, had constituents come to us and say that they have had problems with their accommodation. One of my constituents came to me with her baby who was suffering terribly from asthma because of the damp in her private rented accommodation. I spoke to Hull City Council’s housing team, whose fantastic housing manager, Dave Richmond, dealt with the case and the landlords had to resolve the problem.
But what about all the people who do not go and see their Member of Parliament? What about all those to whom it would not even occur that they could go to their MP and they could help them deal with the issue? Who goes to check that private rented accommodation is of a high standard? I have had this conversation with Hull City Council. I am sure that it would love to be able to go out there and check that some of the accommodation that people are living meets the standard that it should, but who pays the bill? People who live in Hull are paying their council tax to deal with problems that are caused by private rented accommodation and private landlords. Can anyone name me another type of private organisation where the general taxpayer foots the bill to deal with problems created in its own industry?