Renters vote - and cause another political upset

Jun 09, 2017 3:47 PM

The results are in, and the UK's voters have delivered yet another shock.

The dust still has to settle but one thing is already apparent: the votes of renters had an impact yesterday. Twenty of the 32 seats that the Conservatives lost to Labour and the Liberal Democrats had more renters than average. Back at the 2011 census, those 32 seats had an average private renter population of 19% - it was 16% in the country as a whole.

Apparently safe seats with large numbers of renters that fell to Labour included Portsmouth South, Reading East and Battersea. Of the 93 Renter Marginals we identified, 31 changed hands.

As the Prime Minister prepares her legislative programme, she should bear in mind that most of the MPs she lost represented large numbers of private renters. As home ownership remains unaffordable, the renter vote will only increase. 

She already recognises the injustice created by our broken housing market, but to prevent this issue causing her further grief, she needs to act immediately on her manifesto pledges and ban letting agent fees, strengthen security of tenure and build new council homes.

The good news is she would enjoy cross-party support for these reforms.

However, the hung Parliament we find ourselves with could see the weeks and months ahead dominated by Westminster politicking. 

That means housing could fall down the agenda - but our growing movement can stop that happening.

It’s clear that we have power if we are organised and focused.

The new government will have to listen to renters so Generation Rent will hold them to their manifesto promises, and push them further to get a better deal.

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