There’s a lot at stake when the 174th Manchester derby kicks-off tonight. Victory could prove pivotal in United and City’s battle for 4th place and Champions League qualification, and of course supporters will be yearning for all important bragging rights.
But the stakes are a lot higher for Greater Manchester’s private renters. 1 in 6 households in Greater Manchester rent, but too many are struggling with unsafe conditions, rising rents and the difficulty of putting down roots in a stable home. Renters are bottom of the league in terms of housing, with renters more likely to be living in a home that fails the Shelter Living Home standard than any other tenure.
However, in a week’s time, renters have a lifeline. On 4th May, residents will elect the first Mayor of Greater Manchester. The Mayor will represent the 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester, and will have a range of new powers, including over housing. It’s a fantastic opportunity to speak out, and ask the candidates to fix private renting.
But there’s only 7 days to go. The election’s drawing closer, and renters are running out of time to get their voices heard. To paraphrase Sir Alex Ferguson, it’s ‘squeaky bum time’.
Over the last few months we’ve been campaigning hard. Hundreds of Shelter supporters have emailed the mayoral candidates, to ask them to commit to doing all they can to improve conditions, champion longer tenancies, and fight for more affordable renting across Greater Manchester.
Our supporters have also been telling us the first thing they’d like the new mayor to fix, with lower renting costs currently top of the table, but with several options making it a narrow lead. Longer contracts, an end to discrimination against people on housing benefit, and protection from bad landlords are all sitting in the top 4.
We’ve also hit the streets, running stalls in Bolton and central Manchester to build support. We’ve had some great conversations with the public, and it’s clear that there’s a real appetite for change. People are sensing the importance of this opportunity.
Our 3 shops in Greater Manchester have also got involved, spreading our message to customers. Many of them want the next Mayor of Greater Manchester to fix renting.
If you’ve been on a tram in the last few weeks you may have seen our striking adverts, which highlight the terrible conditions that 1 in 5 renters in Greater Manchester have to put up with. Imagine travelling home to that.
And behind the scenes we’ve been speaking to the candidates too. Our advisors in our Manchester Hub help struggling renters every day, and we’ve been sharing our expertise with the candidates.
We’ve been busy, but we can’t ease up. With the election just one week away it’s really important that we keep the pressure on. Don’t miss this chance to speak out. There won’t be any Fergie time. Please email the candidates today.