Social housing tenants need to vote Labour on Thursday, that’s ALL circa six million or so social tenants, and because it is in their best interests to do so. No need for any political bias as its a no brainer in every possible way as I detail here
It is also in the best interests of every privately renting tenant and in the best interests of anyone saving for a mortgage deposit and in the best interest of every social landlord to vote Labour. Again the facts clearly show this.
Labour housing policy in its manifesto makes all the above statements a no brainer for any tenant. Among many other housing and housing-related policies in the manifesto Labour promise:
- The bedroom tax is gone and will be ended by July.
- The LHA maxima cap is history and thus hostels, refuges and sheltered will not close as they will under Conservative plans
- More new housing is promised than the Conservatives in overall numbers
- Much more social housing makes it cheaper to rent and easier and quicker to save for a mortgage deposit and more can move away from much higher private rents and no letting agent fees too.
- Labour promise social housing at social rent levels while the Tories reneged and did a U-turn on this which sees £4000 more in rent for ‘affordable (sic) rent’ on average in London and £4000 less per year of saving for a mortgage deposit.
As always I evidence my analysis with facts and the facts are there in the manifesto and the Conservatives and Theresa May herself duped the electorate, the Financial Times, the President of the Chartered Institute of Housing and Inside Housing and others and then did a U-turn by first promising ‘social rent’ which has a London average of £112 per week and then said they meant ‘affordable rent’ which averages £187 per week and £4000 more in rent and /or Housing Benefit ‘welfare’ per year.
Bedroom Tax – is a longstanding commitment to abandon (p58) and can be done by issuing a Statutory Instrument (SI) to repeal it that gives 28 days notice. This is what the Tories did to repeal the pre 1996 loophole and cock-up in early 2014 and needs no further comment.
LHA Maxima Cap – is abandoned on page 64 and very surprisingly has been missed by the entire housing sector. All of the policy analysts, policy officers, and commentators have simply NOT read Labour’s manifesto which makes it clear when it says:
“We will also take action to tackle the root causes of homelessness, including safeguarding homeless hostels and other supported housing from crude Conservative cuts to housing benefit.”
More housing units – I detailed this here and we see the Conservatives promising over 25,000 fewer new housing numbers than Labour promises.
Type of housing – Labour policy has been very clear that of the 200,000 new homes per year that there will be half -100,000 – being social housing. They also state significantly that they will allow local councils to borrow against their assets to build in the manifesto and that policy is exactly the same as the Daily Telegraph wanted!
Strange bedfellows indeed yet more importantly it means:
- more chance of existing and new private renters getting social housing,and
- saving more and more quickly for a deposit, and
- no payments of letting fees and …
… All the many more benefits social housing provides which the social housing sector have never sold to the public in their collective idiocy for at least thirty five years! Paying less in rent also of course means a much greater incentive to take up employment as you have to earn less to afford, just another obvious factor social housing has never sold to the public and especially the electorate.
Tory U-turn on ‘social rent’ to ‘affordable rent’ –
The Conservatives and Theresa May personally said in an announcement in early May they will have many more houses at “social rent” as she did here
“That’s why we will fix the broken housing market and support local authorities and housing associations to build a new generation of council homes right across the country. Giving tenants a new right to buy these homes when they go on the market will help thousands of people get on the first rung of the housing ladder, and fixed terms will make sure money is re-invested so we have a constant supply of new homes for social rent.”
Even the Financial Times were duped into believing the policy would be for social rent and indeed so was the President of the Chartered Institute of Housing Gavin Smart in this article from 15 May
The Conservatives also promise new “fixed-term social houses”, which would be sold on after 10 to 15 years of being leased out at social rents, with tenants having the first option to buy. Mr Smart said that proceeds of these sales should be fully committed back into new housing, unlike those of the existing Right to Buy programme.
Yet a few days ago on 2 June and two weeks after the Conservatives has promised “social rent” Gavin Barwell the last Housing Minister said this:
A “new generation of homes for social rent” promised by the Conservatives will be at affordable rent levels which can be up to 80% of the market rate, the housing minister has admitted. …. Asked if the new homes would be let at “low level council rents”, he replied: “No, I think the idea is that they are what you’d call affordable rents in housing terminology, but they are social housing.
The difference is staggering in rent terms between “social rent” and “affordable rent” as the official DCLG figures show:
The average social rent in London is £112 per week yet the average affordable rent is £187 per week and £75 per week higher. This is almsost £4000 per year more in rent and either £4000 more paid by the tenant or £4000 per year more paid in Housing Benefit.
The average social rent in the regions is £83 compare with £114 per week in affordable (sic) rent and 38% more which again is more for the tenant or the Housing Benefit bill to pay.
The difference when extrapolated to the promised numbers of new housing is around £400 million more paid in rent per year and around £340 million of that paid by Housing Benefit.
Over a parliament that is a £2 billion hike in rents and a further £1.7 billion on the ‘welfare’ bill through increased Housing Benefit which means the Conservatives need to either tax £1.7 billion more or have an additional £1.7 billion of cuts to pay for the increased Housing Benefit bill. These are significant amounts!
Social landlords would also benefit significantly from the removal of the bedroom tax and the abandonment of the LHA Maxima policy as they would from the reinstatement of the £30 per week cut to ESA WRAG recipients and from their tenants no longer having to go through the fundamentally flawed assessment process for disability benefits which not only is a premeditated sham, it costs around £160 million more per year to administer than from the ‘savings’ it creates.
Social landlords and social tenants would also benefit from the £10 per hour minimum wage pledge which reduces Working Tax Credit yet increases Housing Benefit and overall leaves the tenant better off and the Treasury better off and the taxpayer better off too – I did a detailed example of it here to prove the point with those pesky facts called numbers!
The benefits for all tenants in both sectors involved and affected by the Housing Crisis (in reality many housing crises that impact differently inter and intra-regionally and in many case vary even within any local authority.
There are 4.3 million or so social rented households which means at a cautiously low figure some 6 million eligible voters in social housing alone. Those 6 million will include adult children who can’t get on in life due to high private rents and the removal of Housing Benefit for the under 22s is just another Tory policy that Labour will remove.
Existing social tenants, their children and grandchildren too, will be better off with Labour. The existing private tenant will have more choice and at a greatly reduced cost and therefore all will be able to save for a deposit more and mire quickly.
Those who rent will be so much better off with Labour’s housing policy and if we do vote for what is in our own best interests, which is entirely reasonable and logical, then at least 6 million renters should vote Labour as they would be a fool not to. Housing costs are typically the highest expenditure item we have and if they are going to fall (through increased supply and moving from PRS to SRS) and enable those who rent to save a deposit a quicker route up the housing ladder then it is madness for the renter not to vote Labour.
If renters voted for Labour and/or against the Conservatives in their area then 6 million or votes for Labour either directly or indirectly would happen … and every renter existing and prospective and every aspiring home owner saving for a deposit would benefit and we would much much quicker take home ownership rates back up to their peak of 71% (under Labour in 2004) and up from their now 64% under the Conservatives … a policy of greater home ownership (rightly or wrongly) is what both Labour and the Conservatives seek and the best way for that to happen is to vote Labour this Thursday.
The Labour manifesto has its faults and scandalous omissions for example it says absolutely nothing on the overall benefit cap policy and if they do get into power (which they can with 276 seats and if the SNP retain their 50 in Scotland so not far-fetched at all) then rest assured I will be as critical of them as I have been with the hopefully last Tory lot!