Ed Miliband was in Cambridge last Thursday because official figures show that we have the highest proportion of private rented accommodation in the region – 26% -even higher than London. Earlier in the day Ed had launched Labour’s local and European election campaign and unveiled plans for sweeping reforms of the private rented housing sector which will help millions of households caught in the cost-of-living crisis.
He set out detailed plans for how the next government will tackle the root causes of the cost-of-living crisis to make hardworking Britain better off. The measures he announced will give families greater security with three-year tenancies and predictable rents which prevent excessive rises, as well as saving households up to £500 when they move into their homes.
Joining Ed to launch Labour's campaign, Cambridge Labour Parliamentary Candidate Daniel Zeichner said: "One of the biggest causes of the cost of living crisis in our country is the price of renting or buying a home. People simply can’t afford it, they’re priced out, saving for a deposit year after year, decade after decade, or having to look for somewhere to live further and further away from where they go to work or where the kids have always gone to school."
A Labour government will make sure that Britain builds 200,000 more homes a year by the end of the next Parliament so that more families can fulfil their dream of home ownership. But generation rent is a generation that has been ignored for too long. Nine million people are living in rented homes today, over a million families, and over two million children. That is why a Labour government will take action to deliver fairer deal for them too.
Labour local authorities have already been taking the lead with a register of landlords to drive up standards. But we need to do more. If you buy your home, most estate agent will not charge you fees, but those who rent are given no protection and they get charged up to £500 just for signing a tenancy agreement. We will legislate to ban these charges by letting agents. And we need to deal with the terrible insecurity of Britain’s private rental market as well. Many tenancies last just six months with families at risk of being thrown out after that with just two months’ notice with no reason. Some are told to accept huge rent rises or face eviction. It breeds instability and that is bad for tenants, bad for families, bad for landlords, and bad for our society. So today I can announce, the next Labour government will legislate to make three year tenancies the standard in the British private rented sector to giving people who rent the certainty they need. These new longer-term tenancies will limit the amount that rents can rise by each year too - so landlords know what they can expect each year and tenants can’t be surprised by rents that go through the roof. This is Labour’s fair deal for rented housing in Britain: long-term tenancies and stable rents so that people can settle down, know where the kids will go to school, know their home will still be there for them tomorrow.”
At the campaign launch, Ed Miliband underlined that the cost-of-living crisis is the defining issue of our age which goes to the heart of how Britain is run – and who it is run for. In these elections and the General Election next year, Britain faces a big choice. Not just a choice between candidates or parties, but an historic choice between two totally different visions of how a country succeeds, of how we can build a better future for the hardworking people of Britain, of who our country is run for.