New shadow housing minister Lucy Powell has taken aim at the government’s failure to protect renters, leaseholders, first-time buyers and local communities, in her maiden speech in the role.

During a debate on affordable and safe housing, she told the Commons that its housing policies had failed.

“Now, more people are living in expensive poor-quality rented housing, subsidised by a soaring housing benefit bill,” said Powell.

The recent Queen’s Speech had done nothing for renters living in, “overpriced, poor-quality homes, thousands of whom are on the brink of eviction”, she said, while it had also neglected to include measures for those stuck on council waiting lists because right-to-buy properties were not being replaced, nor had it done anything to address the climate emergency after its flagship Green Homes grant was dropped.

Added Powell: “Ministers have taken some welcome action, such as the moratorium on evictions, but alongside housing charities, I am deeply concerned that the rolling back of those protections will now lead to a wave of homelessness.”

During the debate, fellow Labour senior Rebecca Long-Bailey (pictured) said that although the government had reaffirmed commitments to end section 21 no fault evictions, this had taken more than two years.

She added: “If the government honour their promise, that still leaves a glaring lack of protection for all those tenants in pandemic arrears who can still legitimately be evicted.

“The government should have set out a package of support for them.”

Powell also introduced an amendment pointing out that the Queen’s Speech failed to prevent the potentially ruinous costs of remediation works to make buildings safe being passed on to leaseholders and tenants and called on the government to set a deadline of June 2022 to make all homes safe. The amendment was rejected, 358 votes to 223.

Read: Who is Lucy Powell?


  1. Why Labour always seems to be in a fighting mode! Calm Down!

    They need to start communicating because their shouting is wrong and hurtful.

  2. The answer to many of the arrears that are leading to evictions is simple: the government should offer tenants in arrears loans to pay the arrears and this should go direct to the landlord. Tenants who refuse the loan should be fast tracked for eviction.

    Many landlords are struggling too, you know, and can’t afford to let properties to tenants who can’t or won’t pay the rent.

    I’m beginning to suspect that governments and councils don’t build ‘council’ houses because they don’t want to have to deal with troublesome and non-paying tenants – and why should they when the PRS is dealing with them.

  3. I can agree with Labour about the Green Homes debacle; the rest is a summary of some of the reasons that the party is so out of touch with reality and doing so badly in elections. There is nothing practical proposed which helps to solve the problem of both reasonable tenants in rent arrears through no fault of their own, and those who’ve taken advantage of the pandemic to stop paying rent.

  4. Labour are simply stoking the flames of the so called “Class War” debate…

    Giving the feckless a smokescreen to hide behind…

    NO landlord will EVER evict a responsible tenant who is up to date with rent other than the need to sell the property for financial reasons.

    Without union funds the Labour Party is bankrupt.

    Simply a failing organisation that has out lived its time and needs to be allowed to fail…
    Darwinism in action.

  5. Once again, the rhetoric of massive issues with poor quality rental properties just does not match the reality with 85% of renters being satisfied (RLA 2109 survey). Just more Labour politicking.

  6. The Conservative Party is now more like the Labour Party than the Labour Party! They fail to comprehend the concept of fairness and the reality that most landlords are decent people who want to look after their tenants to the best of their ability. They take the view that there are many more tenant votes than landlord votes in marginal red wall seats, so they don’t care about such matters as contactual rights of landlords, and they are too ignorant to see that state interference will have unintended adverse consequences. They are listening too much to the wrong people. As for the Labour Party, their attitude towards anyone they think has a few quid is similar to Hitler’s attitude to the Jews! They detest landlords and want to eradicate them. They would confiscate their assets and give them to the state to redistribute to the masses, with only those in the Party taking all the wealth.

  7. I think both Conservative & Labour detest landlords, that seems clear to me & many others. They also detest tenants but try to hide this by shouting about tenants rights, legislation, higher EPC standards etc.

    All these things cost money which ultimately comes from the tenants via increased rent. So all the headlines about tenants rights, improvements etc all sound very nice but it is the tenant that suffers for it & pays for it.

    I don’t understand why privately owned homes (the majority, 79% of properties) don’t have to follow the same regulations as rented. Especially as we are told of the existential threat of climate change. Why is it only tenants that have to pay for improved energy efficiency (via increased rent) & not those that own the property they live in?

  8. Can anyone explain why a T on benefits, regular income is allowed to go 6 months in arrears during covid and not get challenged by benefits system for not paying rent??

  9. Same reason why a few years ago I was involved in a court case where I was paying all my legal bills and the other side were on benefits and legal aid… My solicitor said that they will just drag the case out for months in the hope that I run out of money… so they would win because they are effectively backed by the deep pockets of the state…

    Hardworking taxpayers shafted at every turn in UK

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