Politics and housing in 2014

As housing continues its meteoric rise up the political agenda – it finally broke through into the leaders debate at PMQs yesterday for the first time I can remember – it’s always interesting to see how the parties are doing among voters of different housing tenures.

With Ipsos Mori’s monthly poll out today, Ben Marshall from Ipsos has kindly provided us with an interesting update. —

Ben Marshall, Research Director at Ipsos MORI.

This year is an important one politically. … Read more

Our broken housing market: the new political battleground

So much of housing comes down to location (location, location etc). So Ed Miliband’s choice of venue for his announcement yesterday caught the eye.

Stevenage was an interesting choice for two reasons: firstly, it’s a ‘new town’– one of the first delivered in a post-war period when the scale of our house building ambitions were significantly grander than they have been in recent decades. But secondly, Stevenage is also a key marginal constituency: exactly the sort of south-eastern seat Labour … Read more

#MeetTheVoters – housing and the 2015 election

There was a nice moment on Monday night at our political panel event, joint hosted with KPMG. The event discussed what issues will dominate the next election. Our Chief Exec, Campbell Robb, geared himself up to give an impassioned speech on the importance of housing in 2015 – only to be forced to concede that Mary Riddell had already given it!

Mary had just eloquently put the case – as she has done in her columns – for the importance … Read more

The government’s important first steps towards better renting: now let’s make it happen

The poor state of private renting in England has been bubbling up as an issue for a while now. While Shelter have long campaigned for better private renting, it’s only in recent months that the issue has broken through into the mainstream.

The government’s response to the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee, released yesterday, marks a significant moment and a good first step. But more is needed to provide stability for England’s 9 million renters – and Shelter’s … Read more

Help to Buy: not just bad economics, but bad politics too

While Help to Buy is certainly not short of critics in the world of economics, the assumption that boosting house prices makes good politics has so far held.

But new Shelter/YouGov polling published today – as part of our At What Cost? report – overturns that widely received wisdom, showing the majority of the public now don’t actually want house prices to rise any further.

Numerous commentators including Martin Wolf in the FT, Russell Lynch in the Evening Standard, … 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

Home ownership is popular for a reason: renting in England is a poor alternative

Two weeks ago we launched our ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ campaign, which is the latest in our efforts to highlight the increasing numbers of ‘Generation Rent’ priced out of home ownership in England. As our spokespeople did the media rounds on TV and the radio, you might have noticed them – as I did – being asked a pointed question by journalists: why is this even a problem?

Interestingly, this is one that is coming up with increasing regularity. … Read more

As renters cry out for change, ministers bury their heads in the sand

Private renting used to be a stepping stone – a short-term place to stay before moving on, usually to home ownership, often to a social home. But with the number of private renters now reaching 9 million in England, media coverage has in recent years focused in on the problems of insecure, expensive, and poor quality private rented homes for Generation Rent, unable to get a long-term home of their own.

So the investigation of the cross-party Communities and Local … Read more

Britain’s housing shortage: coming to a swing seat near you?

Rising home ownership was once a staple of post-war prosperity. The increasing number of people owning their own home underpinned not only a burgeoning middle class, but a broader sense of optimism about the future.

A basic kind of social contract also emerged: if you worked hard and saved, you could eventually own a home. Today, while private renting remains so insecure and unaffordable, the stability of home ownership will obviously continue to be attractive for many.

Unfortunately, this social … 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

A welcome first step towards better renting

The private rented sector is not fit for purpose. This much has long been obvious to those working on the front line in Shelter’s advice services, and to our supporters.

Thankfully, it seems this is a reality increasingly dawning on our politicians too, with a growing number from all parties sharing our view that the sector simply doesn’t meet the needs of the 9 million people who now live there.

And on Tuesday, after much campaigning by Shelter and others, … Read more

Letting agents: a further chance for change

There would appear to be something of a sea change underway regarding letting agents.

After years of languishing in relative political obscurity, Westminster has recently played host to an array of debates, Private Members Bills and Ten Minute Rule motions, with MPs from all sides calling for reform of the letting agents market.

On top of that, in a landmark announcement, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has today ruled that letting agents must be more transparent about the fees they … Read more