Labour Minister Slams Ed Miliband's Rent Controls

Labour Minister Slams Ed Miliband's Rent Controls

Ed Miliband’s 1970s-style rent control policy was in further turmoil today after it was revealed that a Labour Minister had previously claimed it would be counter-productive, and ensure the poorest were “shoved out” of properties. 

Lisa Nandy, a rising star in Labour circles, made the comments at a Fabian’s Conference on 25th January 2014. Predictably, the Conservatives accused Miliband of bringing in policies from the 1960s and 1970s, and that the proposal was similar to those unsuccessfully tried by Socialist regimes in Venezuela and Vietnam. 

But it has emerged that Nandy was almost as scathing, she said: “If you don’t address the problem of supply then essentially what you get is far too many people still competing for a limited pool of properties.

“What you’ll get, I suspect, is landlords choosing the tenants that they decide they’ll want to have and those tenants, I suspect, would be the more affluent tenants, so the very people this proposal is meant to help would be shoved out as a consequence.”

The news of his shadow education minister’s comments will add to Mr Miliband’s troubles with the policy. The Labour leader had claimed the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) was working with Labour to establish what the “appropriate benchmark might be”. However, yesterday The Daily Telegraph reported that RICS had denied any involvement. 

A RICS spokesman said “We do not recommend that a government introduce a ceiling on rent increases.” It has also emerged that shadow housing minister, Emma Reynolds, has reservations about the policy and said it would not “work in practice” earlier this year.

Under the plan, Labour would pass legislation forcing buy-to-let landlords to provide three year tenancies. Miliband has said that long-term agreements would give families greater security and limit the amount by which rents can rise annually.

Rent controls are the latest in a series of far-left property reforms proposed by Miliband. He had previously suggested giving the government the right to requisition land from developers. This move was compared to the disastrous actions of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

Follow Andre Walker on Twitter: @AndreJPWalker