The Guardian view on Britain’s renters: neglected and cash-strapped

It's hard to believe, more than thirty years on, that Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister for a third successive term on a promise of popular capitalism and a property owning democracy.

The policy currently lies in shreds, especially in relation to housing, and the gap between those who own and those who rent continues to widen, with average house price values rising by 15% since the first lockdown in March 2020 making it almost impossible for aspiring first-time buyers to get on the market.

And, according to The Guardian, the story for renters is just as bad:

"For the millions of Britons who will never come close to earning enough money to own a home, insecure rented accommodation has become a way of life. As the supply of social housing has steadily dwindled, their interests have been grievously neglected.

Even a former Conservative Prime Minister is now acknowledging past mistakes:

In a foreword to a report by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), a centre-right thinktank, Mrs May acknowledged that the historic Tory focus on home ownership “has at times distracted from what should be our overwhelming priority as Conservatives: ensuring that everyone has a decent, affordable and secure home”.

The CSJ report, entitled The hidden housing crisis, exposes the dark underside of Britain’s buoyant property market. The dearth of available social housing, which began with the 1980s sell-off of council stock, has led to a boom in the private rented sector. Low-income families – who once would have lived in council accommodation or a housing association home – are struggling to get by as a result."

Interestingly, the Centre for Social Justice, a centre-right think tank has advised on a change of government policy, based in part no doubt on its new-found composition of support amongst first time Tory voters in the north.


"...the belated recognition of the extent of this crisis is welcome. It is also a sign of the times, as the Tory party reflects on the changed social composition of its support.

Having polled extensively among first-time Tory voters in “red wall” areas, the CSJ recommends that an emphasis on building affordable rented housing should be a central part of the gov ernment’s levelling-up programme.

Over two-thirds of “new Conservative” voters surveyed said that expanding affordable rented accommodation should be the top housing priority."

The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it:

The Guardian Editorial view on Britain's renters - 01.12.21
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