Rental activists are up in arms because Housing Secretary Michael Gove failed to mention the Renters Reform Bill during his keynote speech at the Conservative party conference.
Gove’s speech to delegates in Manchester concentrated on attacking the opposition, accusing Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer of being a “jellyfish of British politics … transparent, spineless and swept along by the tide”.
He also claimed the Tories would stop Labour “taking our fields, meadows, and forests away from our children” as he promised government housebuilding plans would protect nature.
Gove - also responsible for levelling up - claimed the Tories were “the party of beauty and nature” and pledged to “build in the hearts of towns and cities and on brownfield land, because that cuts commuting times, revitalises high streets and protects the Green Belt.”
Earlier this week both Gove and housing minister Rachael Maclean pledged at fringe meetings that the Renters Reform Bill would receive its Second Reading in the Commons before Christmas - but the failure to mention the Bill in the keynote speech triggered a spate of angry tweets from Generation Rent’s leadership, much of which appears to be at the Tory conference in person.
The group’s policy and public affairs manager Conor O’Shea tweeted: “Not a single mention of the Renters Reform bill in Housing Secretary @Michaelgove’s speech here at conference. More worries that the issue is not as high a priority as we have been reassured.”
And Generation Rent’s chief executive Ben Twomey - who attended at least one of the fringe meetings at which Gove gave his Second reading pledge - also tweeted: “Renters having to fight for a seat at the table every single day. Exhausting but we’ll keep going - @genrentUK will be heard!”
* Responding to Gove's conference speech yesterday, Propertymark’s head of policy and campaigns Timothy Douglas says: “The Conservative Party’s record in government means we are continuing to talk about building more homes that the country desperately needs.
"Reforming planning, new homes to net zero and more affordable places to live are vital but we need action now. Furthermore, the party of home ownership also needs to be the party of renting which means a whole-scale review of taxes impacting landlords and investment in the private rented sector. Money to support regional development is welcome but the proportion of towns that will receive support is a drop in the ocean to what is needed.”
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