London’s housing crisis is fuelling demand for bringing back rent controls.
More than six in ten Londoners supported the idea in a poll by campaign group Generation Rent last week.
Then right wing think tank Civitas published a report calling for rent controls. It said Labour’s proposals on the issue didn’t go far enough.
Rent control is one demand of the March for Homes set to take place on Saturday 31 January.
Tanya Murat from Defend Council Housing (DCH) told Socialist Worker, “It’s a popular demand and it’s gaining resonance.
“Rent control was abolished at the same time as they brought in the Right to Buy in council housing. They combined to help landlords make loads of money out of people who can’t afford to but their own home.”
Rent control would also save billions spent on subsidising landlords. “Lack of rent control is the reason the housing benefit bill has gone up,” said Tanya. “But it’s always the tenants who have to claim it who are blamed.”
The march also demands an end to attacks on council housing, as well as the bedroom tax and the welfare cap.
It is called by DCH along with South London People’s Assembly and the Unite union’s housing workers’ branch.
Housing campaigns, tenants and residents’ associations, trades councils, union branches and MPs have also come on board.
More than 50 people attended an organising meeting earlier this month, and leafleting took place across London last weekend.
Tanya said, “It’s gaining momentum, and turning into something bigger than we expected.”