Sky-high rents are forcing hard-up families out of their homes leading to a process of “social cleansing”, according to Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn.
The Islington North MP challenged the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, about caps on housing benefits that came into effect in January this year and claimed increasing private sector rents added to the problem.
The confrontation took place in the Commons after the Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, had earlier said there were no plans to introduce rent controls in the private sector to deal with the issue.
Almost a third of Corbyn’s constituents are private tenants and the MP said there were serious problems facing people in Islington.
“These private tenants pay very high rents in flats and houses that are expensive to heat and often badly maintained,” he said.
“It is time that we had much tougher regulation of the private rented sector, including rent regulation, because prices are astonishingly high for people who are unable to save or to move on from living in such accommodation.”
Grant Shapps insisted the government was doing everything it could do deal with the issue and Corbyn’s proposals were not the solution.
He said: “If we introduce rent controls we know exactly what will happen – they would restrict the market and make it more expensive for exactly the constituents whom Mr Corbyn is trying to protect.”
Nick Clegg said that the lack of affordable homes in the capital was the “underlying problem”.
He said: “We have also unveiled a number of measures that should lead to a significant increase in the building of affordable homes.”