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Graham Awards


Rent controls “heavy handed and economically illiterate” - top Tory

A prominent Conservative has branded the rush towards rent controls by some politicians as “heavy-handed and economically illiterate”.

Janet Finch Saunders, an elected member of the Welsh Parliament, says in a piece for The National news website that rent controls “have been proven time and time again to not only be ineffective at combatting the issue of affordability, but have actually been detrimental to the housing market.”

She says that in Wales specifically, rent increases in recent years have been no more than 1.7 per cent annually - so introducing a cap on rent rises, which would probably be greater than that, could unwittingly produce higher rents rather than lower ones as landlords increased up to the cap level.


In addition, international experience - the politician cites Berlin and San Francisco - suggests that caps lead to surges in rent over time, and produce an exodus from the sector meaning less choice for tenants and reduced investment by landlords.

The longer term solution to high rents, she suggests, is more housing - and she is sharply critical of Labour’s record on house building in Wales, and its support for rent controls now having failed to mention them in manifestos before recent elections. 


Finch Saunders continues: “To put it simply, Wales needs more houses. This task is looking to be an ever increasingly difficult one as the pandemic has affected supply chains across a range of industries affecting the housing sector.

“A potential combination of a reduced supply of housing due to landlords withdrawing out of the private rented sector and a further slowdown in house building due to the pandemic on top of Labour mismanagement, has the potential to create the perfect storm to further drive up rent and house prices.”

You can read the full piece here.

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  • George Dawes

    She’s right you know

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    Of Course they are and so are Government’s Policies in England Economically illiterate as are Local Authorities, the Revenue, Shelter, Generation rent etc. They keep crippling private rented sector housing with rules, Regulation's and loading on costs, then have they cheek to complain about high rent that they are responsible for.

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    A voice of reason amongst the insanity!

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    At last, a politician with common sense. How rare they are!

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    The only times when I have wanted to increase rents markedly and in response to market rents has been when Scotland brought in Draconian HMO licensing in 2004 and the new PRS legislation in 2017. Both actions resulted in 30% increases for the better rental properties. At other times rents stayed unchanged for years and almost always for the entire time tenants were in a single property.

    Permitted annual increases under rent controls will always be imposed

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    Wales, like the rest of the UK and most of Europe, needs fewer people before it needs more houses.

    The population of the UK went up by less than 1.5m between 1972 and 1992.

    Between 1992 and 2012 it went up by over 6m.

    In the 10 years since 2012, it has gone up by another 3m. That's DOUBLE, in 10 years, what previously took 20 years. That's a 300% growth rate increase.

    And we're talking about more houses? Woods for the trees springs to mind.

    And let's also not forget that we live in a society where 43% of working age adults pay no income tax. Not only do we have an ever increasing and snowballing population, but almost half of them are being subsidised by the other half, because they can't or won't support themselves.

    Too many people to start with, and FAR too many who contribute little to nothing economically.

    Now obviously, the ship has sailed on being able to do anything about a lot of this, but I can say quite conclusively, that if we don't do something to stem the population growth, then the 'we need more houses' conversation will be going on well into the next 10, 20, 50 or 100 years.


    Just out of curiousity Max, what are your proposals for reducing population growth? Limiting the number of children a family may have (a la China? Because that worked out well for them). Perhaps exiling those you deem to be too unproductive? Enforced euthanasia at a given age? Or have you been watching too many of The Purge films?


    Perhaps it IS different people we need?

    We have far too many workshy scroungers whose only effort seems to be breeding the next generation.

    We need to swop them for the hard working tradesmen from Poland etc. and send them to an area of Afghanistan of their choice.

    My late father campaigned tirelessly on behalf of the destitute unemployed and infirm in the 20's and 30's.

    However even he admitted that the Welfare State had gone too far and he was deeply ashamed of how many exploited the system and their fellow man.

    Animal Farm has come to pass in 21st century Britain.

  • David Saunders

    Spot on Max, another point worth a mention is that the population explosion kicked of big time when in 2004 Tony Blair's Labour government waved through without delay the insane freedom of movement within EU policy, stating it was unlikely to attract more than 15.000 EU immigrants to settle in UK. That policy led directly to UK voting to leave EU in 2016 by which time UK population was rising by 500,000 year on year leading directly to today's housing crisis.

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    Wow finally somebody who understands economic and renting...

    If all the Landlords leave the sector or even half - what are people going to? Rent Westminister?


    Westminster won't achieve an EPC C!

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    I beleive that thier are 6 million East Eurpeans here, coustesy Tony Blair. Wonder how many are
    Spetnaz ? Putin wont have to bother invading here he can just send a load of "refugees" !

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    Perhaps we would have 7 million job vacancies without these 6 million immigrants, instead of the million or so which our own lazy British-born scroungers won’t apply for as they are too well looked after by the British (and immigrant) tax payers?

    Perhaps we need another million East European workers – and should ship out a million of our fellow countrymen to make room for them?


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