Tenant Fees Bill

Part of Gaza: Un Human Rights Council Vote – in the House of Commons at 8:48 pm on 21st May 2018.

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Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Conservative, Walsall North 8:48 pm, 21st May 2018

I refer the House to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, as I am an “accidental landlord”, to use that excellent term. I think 123 MPs are also landlords, so there should be a wealth of knowledge in the Chamber.

I wanted to speak in this debate because I am mindful of the Prime Minister’s speech on 13 July 2016, in which she said her intention is to reach out to ordinary working-class families. As the product of an ordinary working-class family, I am keen for her to do that. I represent the people of Willenhall and Bloxwich, and the average property price in my constituency is only £127,000 and the average income is £25,000 a year, so clearly my constituents are the epitome of hard-working people.

From my perspective, it is therefore incredibly important that this Government do everything they can to protect people who are required to rent because they are not in a position to buy. Clearly, this Government’s aspiration would be for all those people who want to buy to have the opportunity to do so, but we heard the figures earlier and that is not the current reality of this country. We have an ever-increasing rental market. People are forced into a situation where they have to rent because their family is growing or they need to leave home, so it is incredibly important that they are protected.

This is not the good thing about this Bill ; it is not just that this is a Conservative party policy. We have others and it is great that we have done things such as increasing the minimum wage and increasing the level above which people need to pay tax. People looking in from the outside this evening will be seeing Parliament say this is the right thing to do. One of the greatest things for me, having been an MP for less than a year, is to come to this Chamber and hear people on both sides say positive things about a particular idea around which we can all coalesce. It was excellent to hear from Mr Betts and there has been great involvement from the Select Committee; there has been deliberation from people who are very knowledgeable on these topics and the Government have responded accordingly. I also appreciate, from my hon. Friend Bob Blackman, that perhaps in some ways the Bill has not gone quite as far as some would like. It is a work in progress, but from my point of view the comment made by my hon. Friend Mark Pawsey sums up what my constituents would be thinking: is it fair that the fee for sourcing a property is paid by both the landlord and the tenant? I do not think so and I do not think the people in this Chamber think so either.