Following the Shadow Housing Secretary’s speech at the recent Labour Party Conference, Jeni Browne examines the planned policies that all buy to let landlords should be aware of.
Shadow Housing Secretary, Lucy Powell, delivered her speech at the Labour Conference on Monday. The primary concerns focused on the fast-rising prices of homes in the UK and the lack of social and affordable housing.
Powell clearly stated her opinions, believing the number of affordable homes available for first-time buyers is shrinking and that the “insecure” rental sector requires an expansion of policies (although we don’t know any specifics of what these policies would include). Powell said, “I see no contradiction in us also promoting home-ownership – not for more landlords or second homes, but for ordinary working people – nurses, electricians, delivery drivers, and care workers – currently priced out.”
During the speech, Powell hinted at the introduction of a new policy that would restore “the link between wages and housing costs” and tackle “the thorny issues of quality, affordability, and security in private rentals.” Again, no specifics on exactly what this looks like or how it could impact rents, but I imagine they won’t reveal this until the next election cycle in 2024, when the details count.
Powell made it clear that Labour will prioritise first-time buyers and tenants, accusing the Conservatives of treating “housing as a commodity: to be traded, profited from, part of an investment portfolio, a pension pot, not as the bedrock of stable lives and life chances”. She mentioned another policy idea that would give “first-time buyers first dibs on new developments”, preventing “foreign hedge funds purchasing swathes of new homes”. Again, while there are no specifics, we can assume this would also preclude many landlords from parts of the new-build market.
Ultimately, Powell played her cards close to her chest, revealing little regarding initiatives during her speech. However, she clearly stated her opinions on the new housing secretary, saying: “I hear we have Michael Gove coming to the rescue! Do me a favour. Ask the teachers! Less a knight in shining armour, a wrecking ball more like!”. Political snipes aside, until we have details of Labour's proposed regulations around the private rental sector (PRS), it’s difficult to draw too many conclusions about what the future would hold for landlords under their power.
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Sources: Lucy Powell’s full conference speech.
29th September 2021