The politics of rent control

A debate is taking place about whether we should control – or cap – private rents in London.

With the 2016 Mayoral Election edging closer, this debate is heating up. Anyone throwing their hat into the ring is taking a view.

Shelter are currently looking at the technical implications of capping or controlling rents. But we also need to understand the political implications of this very public debate.

It is little wonder that renting dominates our capital’s discourse. The … Read more

A mixed bag

David Cameron opened his Conservative Party Conference speech with the promise of home ownership.

“This week in Manchester we’ve shown this Party is on the side of hardworking people. Helping young people buy their own home.”

The rhetoric is right. And it is fantastic to see all three party leaders recognising the urgent need to tackle our housing crisis. Unfortunately, we still cannot agree with the Government’s proposed solution.

Cameron used the Conference to accelerate the Help to Buy scheme. … Read more

Housing takes centre stage

‘[This] country desperately needs a delivery of homes…’

Spoken by Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation, and Skills during his platform speech at this year’s Liberal Democrat Party Conference.

After a wet and windy three days in Glasgow it’s clear: housing the next generation is on everyone’s mind. The Liberal Democrats, both members and Ministers, genuinely do want to ‘own housing at the next general election’.  However, what this ownership will look like is still all … Read more

Guest blog: Housing at highest level of voter concern in 5 years

We’ve been saying for a while now that housing is bubbling up as a key issue for voters, and that England’s housing shortage is now a crisis affecting broad swathes of the voting population. Shelter’s report Homes for forgotten families published last week shows just how expensive it is for low to middle income families to afford a family home in their area.

New polling by Ipsos MORI last week seems to confirm how concerned people in England are about … Read more

Politics and tenure: the state of play

Whatever your views on it as a policy, the electoral success of Margaret Thatcher’s ‘Right to Buy’ policy showed one thing at least: the way to voter’s hearts is very often through their home. A strong offer on housing can play a big role in parties showing they understand voter’s lives, needs and aspirations.

Which is why as the housing market changes and the private rented sector expands significantly (particularly in swing areas), it’s interesting to view which of … Read more

Fitting the bill

No one applauds real commitment to help renting families more loudly than us. Labour’s proposal yesterday for a housing bill to tackle rip-off fees and poor standards and give renters more security ticks a lot of Shelter boxes. Coming on top of last year’s government pledges to clamp down on rogue landlords and this month’s new legislation on letting agents it’s more welcome evidence of an emerging political consensus  on the need to tackle problems in the private rented sector.… Read more

Guest blog: Mid-term (tenure) blues

We’re always fascinated to see how the kind of housing people have relates to their voting intentions. It’s great to have Ben Marshall, from the pollsters Ipsos MORI, blogging here on their latest analysis.

One stat really jumps out for me: that 62% of renters voted for coalition parties in 2010, but only 37% would now. Not surprising then that Ed Miliband announced a suite of policies for private renters on Saturday. If ever there was a reason for … Read more

Labour: getting noisier on housing

It’s now five years since I first attended party conferences for my job, and I’ve noted some quite different atmospheres over the years.

The 2009 party conferences were the most striking: the quietly confident Conservative conference where champagne was strictly off limits, Labour’s failed coups and sense of impending downfall, and the pre-Cleggmania stoicism at Lib Dems. All this with the backdrop of the MPs’ expense scandal rumbling on.

Fast forward to 2012 and it’s quite a different … Read more

Housing: a clear priority for the Liberal Democrats

This week in stormy Brighton there were many anxious discussions about what the Liberal Democrat Party stands for in 2012, but remarkable consensus on the importance of a decent, affordable home. From coffee bar to conference hall, housing came out as a clear priority with strong support from both local activists and prominent politicians.

The Shelter and Fujitsu joint fringe event at the beginning of the week asked the panel what three arguments the Party will need to make in … Read more

Renters: unregistered and unrepresented?

It’s the time of year when my council sends round letters to check that we’re registered to vote. Happily, I’ve been renting my flat for a while and confirmed our names on the register with minimal fuss.

As the political world gears up for a by-election in Corby and a Bill on electoral reform wings its way through Parliament, the letter did get me thinking about how many of my neighbours – a somewhat transient bunch – had done the … Read more

Back to school: the new political season

September – chillier, windier, busier – is traditionally a time for a refresh. Having had the summer to reflect on how things have gone, our politicians traditionally use the return to Parliament to set out a rejuvenated course for the coming months. Summer 2012 was exceptional in every sense, and the Prime Minister used the moment to really shake up his ministerial teams.

It’s all change for housing policy. Our new team of ministers have been in post for a … Read more

Guest blog: Reshuffles, ‘dither’ and nimbyism

New ministers and a fresh new package of announcements – it’s been an exciting couple of days in the housing world, although I was saddened to see that the PM and DPM didn’t don hard hats and high-vis vests this morning, as is customary when announcing anything to do with house building…

Here, our guest blogger Ben Marshall of Ipsos MORI takes a closer at the politics and public opinions behind the recent announcements, and asks whether the culture of … Read more