Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey has revealed that the Conservatives dismissed his call for energy efficient regulations in the PRS as “communist”.
Speaking on The Rest is Politics podcast, Davey said that during the Tory/Lib Dem coalition, he had tried to regulate the private rented sector to require landlords to bring up their properties to a higher standard of energy efficiency.
“The regulation I wanted to get through would say that you wouldn’t be allowed to rent your house out unless you met these minimum efficiency standards. My biggest opposition in the Tories was Eric Pickles – I had a few clashes with him – and he said to me at one stage: ‘Ed me old chum, regulations are communist. And I said to him, ‘Eric, thou shall not kill’ is a regulation and it came in before Karl Marx’.”
Davey was Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change from 2012 to 2015 while Pickles was Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government after the Cameron–Clegg coalition was formed in 2010.
Davey’s remarks illustrate how far Conservative policy has evolved, with the Renters Reform Bill and regulations for private landlords to meet EPC band C ready to impact the sector.
He told host Alastair Campbell he believed the case for regulations was really strong. Added Davey: “We could lead the world in offshore wind. If we had the right policies for net zero, you could not only make us a world leader, and innovative, you could use that as a vehicle to address some of the gross inequalities in our country.”