Today I vowed to never stop pushing the Mayor to fight for rent control powers, when I went head-to-head with him during Mayor’s Question Time.
I criticised the Mayor’s ‘defeatist’ attitude towards campaigning for rent controls, which I’ve seen ever since I first brought this up with him in 2015, when we were both still working to be selected to stand for our current jobs.
As well as requesting details of the Mayor’s meetings with ministers on this issues, which he has promised to send, I pointed out that, in an MQT exchange in October 2016, he said there was no chance of winning either rent control powers or a ban on letting agent fees.
At that meeting he said ‘the Government is not going to ban letting agent fees’. However, the cross-party campaign to ban letting fees was successful in April 2017 thanks to all our persistence.
I want to see the Mayor apply the same pressure to the Government to address the crisis in renting costs.
A Shelter report released today revealed that homelessness is rising again due to ‘the perfect storm of crippling rents, welfare cuts and a lack of social housing’.
In a heated, political exchange today, the Mayor accused me of ‘doing things simply for the sake of them being popular’. I have been a private renter in London for the past twenty years but it’s true that rent controls are a measure that a big majority of people support. This research by Survation for Generation Rent shows they are even more popular among older people than younger people.
I said today that I will never give up on pressing Sadiq to fight for rent control powers for London’s Mayor.
We all know how sky-high rents are a particular problem for Londoners and a leading cause of homelessness and poverty, with many, many working people struggling to pay them. We need a Mayor who campaigns on this issue and doesn’t give up.
Watch our debate here (skip to 2m 30s if you want to leave out the Mayor’s initial remarks responding to my submitted question):