Rent controls and council homes

Vote for socialist candidates prepared to fight

Vote TUSC on 5 May

Rhys Davies, TUSC candidate for Rumney ward, Cardiff City Council

My three daughters share a small bedroom between them for the nights they stay with me each week. The rent on my two-bedroom house is more than double what mortgage payments used to be on my old three-bedroom house. But my income hasn’t doubled!

With the average house price over £300,000, and energy bills nearly doubling, saving any money at all, let alone enough for a deposit on a permanent home, is impossible.

My situation is frustrating and stressful at times, but in the time since I have lived here, the number of people living in emergency accommodation has doubled, and more than 1,500 children in Cardiff are homeless.

Average monthly rent in Cardiff is at a record high of £1,124  – an increase of 14.5%. In Swansea it is 19.7%, according to Rightmove.

Landlord politicians

115 MPs across all parties have declared earning money from rent, eighteen of these are Labour MPs. This includes Labour’s shadow housing secretary, Lucy Powell, who rents out a room in her London flat. The Register of Interests says that it earns her at least £10,000 a year.

There is an obviously high concentration of property interests in British politics. Whether it’s politicians themselves, or their party’s donors, a sizable proportion have a financial stake in the housing market.

Welsh Labour have failed to keep to their empty commitments to rent control in Wales (see ‘What councils could do in the fight for decent, affordable housing for all’)

It doesn’t take much searching to find that several Labour councillors in Cardiff are buy-to-let landlords. This tells you everything you need to know about the Labour Party and whose interests they serve.

During our campaign work in areas dominated by student accommodation, we found streets full of Labour signs put up while the students were home for Easter.

We need councillors prepared to fight for the safe, affordable housing we need. That’s why the Socialist Party is standing as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition for the local elections on 5 May.

We say:

  • Scrap increases to council rents and other charges
  • For fair rent, secure tenancies and decent conditions, as agreed by elected committees of tenants and trade union representatives. The right to rent tribunals, overseen by these committees, to challenge rent levels and unsafe conditions
  • Councils to use their powers to compulsorily purchase property left empty; to be brought back into council housing stock, rented at social rents on secure tenancies A mass building programme of eco-friendly affordable council homes to tackle the housing crisis, under the democratic control of working-class communities, to prevent overcrowding and to ensure the provision of all necessary services including green spaces