Politicians ignore renters at their peril, in election run-up

Politicians will need to finesse a housing policy that encourages supply, as they prepare their election manifestos ahead of the May general election. The trick will be in not penalising specific forms of provision following the election, as all forms of tenure need to be encouraged.

But, says Lucian Cook, director of residential research at Savills, the danger is that political expediency will get in the way of fundamental policies that are good for the country as a whole. “There is a strong argument that the maintenance of a consistent housing policy is difficult when, on the one hand, £1.4 trillion or 61% of all owner-occupied housing stock is located in Conservative constituencies while, on the other, 48% of the value of social housing is in parliamentary seats held by Labour,” he noted in Property Week.

“Let’s hope the political rhetoric does not cloud the underlying need to deliver much more housing across the range of tenures – particularly in the private rented sector.” Affordability is a growing problem and all parties agree that more housing is needed, notes Cook. “So the rapid growth of the private rented sector, the falling numbers in mortgaged owner-occupation, the restricted amount of new social housing being delivered and the value gap between London and the rest of the country are surely exercising policymakers in all parties.”

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