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Labour abolishes pledge to introduce rent controls

Lisa Nandy

Labour has scrapped a pledge to introduce rent controls if it wins the next general election – after endorsing the policy last year.

Lisa Nandy said last September that she wanted to give local authorities the power to freeze rents, telling the party conference: “Doing nothing is not an option.”

But speaking yesterday, the shadow communities secretary described the approach as a “sticking plaster” and claimed it would increase homelessness.

“When housebuilding is falling off a cliff and buy to let landlords are leaving the market, rent controls that cut rents for some, will almost certainly leave others homeless,” she told the Chartered Institute of Housing’s 2023 gathering of industry professionals.

Abandoning the policy represents a major shift in thinking for Labour, which has promised the regulation of rents in all its manifestos since Ed Miliband was leader.

Responding to the confirmation from the shadow housing secretary that Labour has rejected calls for rent controls, which has prompted an outcry from Labour’s left, with campaign group Momentum accusing the party leadership of being “allergic to good, popular policy”, Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, welcome the announcement.

He said: “We agree with Labour that rent controls would do nothing to address the rental supply crisis that tenants across the country now face.

“What renters need is a proper plan to boost the supply of homes for private rent alongside all other tenures. Housing benefit rates should also be unfrozen without delay to support vulnerable tenants who are struggling to access the rental market.”

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