Alex Hilton presented Emma Reynolds with a box of chocolates when they sat down to talk housing at our event with SHOUT last night. It was in recognition of Labour's work so far on making renting less of the waking nightmare it currently is - but not anything fancy - just Milk Tray, this time. There is still a lot we want from the next government.
Emma (the shadow housing minister) reiterated Labour's plans to build 200,000 homes per year by the end of the decade and create secure but flexible tenancies with limited opportunities to raise the rent. She also revealed Labour's intention to end Section 21, the right landlords have to evict tenants without giving a reason. This goes further than the Bill Sarah Teather MP is taking through Parliament with the backing of the Government. (Generation Rent is still campaigning to get the Tenancies Bill passed - you can ask your MP to support it here.)
Today Ed Balls ruled out borrowing money to build new houses, which is a big disappointment and raises the question of where the money to double housebuilding will come from. We argue that the government could build a secondary housing market with just a small investment.
Lord Adonis, the shadow infrastructure minister, spoke at an event with Matt Griffith of PricedOut on what the new supply of housing could look like. He said the fashionable concept of garden cities could be a distraction and argued that new homes should be part of extensions to existing cities. He also noted the existence of 10,000 garages owned by Southwark Council that could make way for new homes in South London.
We await Ed Miliband's speech tomorrow with the hope that he will have more for renters.