Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing ahead of the Queen’s speech to urge you to take immediate action to ease the cost of living crisis for 2.4 million Londoners by returning the powers to me to introduce rent control in London.
If we do not act urgently to protect renters, spiraling rents could soon translate into a devastating homelessness crisis.
The latest statistics on rents are stark. According to Rightmove, average asking rents in London in Q1 of 2022 hit a new record of £2,193 pcm which is a 14.3 per cent rise from the same time last year. This is the biggest annual jump of any region since records began.
The Homelet rental index for March 2022 shows that renters in London are now spending 34.6 per cent of their income on rent. This coincides with an energy price increase of almost £700, with further increases to come, and the rapid inflation in the cost of everyday essentials.
I have repeatedly asked for the powers to design and implement a system of rent control for London which would help to reduce the financial pressure on renters, without choking off supply. The Queen’s speech is an opportunity to commit to this, but such a system will take time to introduce.
In the meantime, I urge you to implement a two-year rent freeze to relieve the pressure on already-stretched renters. Figures published by City Hall in March suggest this would struggling save Londoners almost £3,000 on average. Your recent Leveling Up white paper extends the offer of further devolution to cities like London, which I warmly welcome. I am asking for new powers to support private renters, including by raising standards in the rental market through property licensing.
I also welcome the government’s commitment to ending section 21, introducing open-ended tenancies and creating a public national landlord register. I look forward to seeing more detail in the forthcoming Renters Reform white paper.
However, affordability is clearly the most urgent issue facing the majority of renters, and currently the government remains silent on this issue. I am asking you to take the action necessary to prevent a major crisis now and to work with me to build a better London for everyone.
Together we can protect some of the most vulnerable people in our society from the worst that is yet to come.
Mayor of London
I don’t like election pacts, but now must be the time to seriously think about having one.
The opposition parties should agree to a pact for the next general election with a joint manifesto of one commitment – an introduction of proportional representation as in Scotland, followed immediately by another election under the new system.
Keir Starmer is reluctant to talk about electoral pacts. However, in the light of the local elections it is clear that in order to replace Johnson’s discredited government, we will need a coalition of some kind.
To achieve this it would be helpful to have a joint, centre-left manifesto on the radical reforms our country needs.
One such reform, particularly in relation to nationalist success in Northern Ireland and Scotland, has to be the creation of a federal constitution. The hybrid arrangements of recent years are clearly not going to work in the future.
Rev Andrew McLuskey
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What if Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner had had a cup of tea with their meal during a work meeting? The police would do a Teagate investigation. With a glass of water there’d be a new Watergate.
Tom van den Bergh
Northern Ireland protocol
Now that Sinn Fein has won the majority of Stormont seats and the DUP is blackmailing the rest of the UK and Boris needs another distraction to divert attention from Partygate, Councilsgate or Whatever-Else-gate, you’re correct to point out the danger of Downing Street ripping up the Northern Ireland protocol in a “patriotic” move against the EU.
Expensive frozen chicken breasts of Brexit coming home to roast, as someone else recently joked.
If Johnson does, Putin will be thanking him. But the British voters wo n’t be, he and his enablers of him in the Tory party would do well to consider that.