Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell has called for a year-long rent freeze to combat rising energy bills and the universal credit payment cut.
It follows the latest Household Resilience Study that shows 7% of private renters were in arrears in April-May, up from 3% in 2019/20, amounting to more than 780,000 renters.
However, his post on social media was quickly scorned by many landlords who posted that the move would only make PRS properties even more scarce.
One tweeted: “Why the obsession with landlords….I can tell you, you are widening the gap and causing far more good landlords to leave it to the bad ones. I’m getting sick of the perpetual one-sided argument.”
Another replied: “Why not suggest energy companies freeze prices or supermarkets freeze food prices. Are landlords just soft targets or seen as evil people for choosing BTL as an investment instead of stocks and shares like most MPs.”
McDonnell has urged Rishi Sunak to impose the year-long rent freeze for all public and private sector tenants in England at the upcoming autumn Budget.
“Many families are facing a winter of worry and hardship from the cut in universal credit, hikes in energy prices and record rent rises,” he said.
“It’s a really tough and uncertain time for so many. A rent freeze will relieve many of them of major pressure on their household budgets this Christmas and provide increased security that they can afford to keep a decent roof over their heads. It will also assist the economic recovery from Covid by maintaining demand in our economy.”
Labour is also pushing the need for more social housing and believes that devolved and local government should be partners in the UK government’s objective of levelling up communities.