Private renters now a key political demographic, says Shelter

By agency reporter
October 4, 2018

Private renters are now key to the political battleground, research from the housign and homelessness charity Shelter shows.

Key statistics on private renting and political polling data for England:       

  • The political salience of renters is growing amid a surge in numbers – 4.7 million households now rent privately in England – a 74 per cent rise in the last ten years. The number of renting families with children has soared by 86 per cent in the last decade.
  • Exclusive research carried out by Number Cruncher Politics, for Shelter, reveals private renters in key marginal seats say they are less likely to vote Conservative in the next general election – in fact the Conservatives are 22 points behind Labour.
  • Between 2011 and 2017 private rents in England rose 60 per cent faster than average wages – adding to the potential of a ‘rentquake’ at the next general election.
  • Thirty-nine percent of voters in marginal seats want the government to prioritise building more social homes, compared with only 31 per cent who backed homeownership schemes like Help to Buy and shared ownership.
  • Marginal voters are gloomier about the housing crisis than any other issue, with 67 per cent believing the state of housing has got worse in the last five years. Crime levels came in second (66 per cent), followed by healthcare (54 per cent), immigration (48 per cent) and education (37 per cent).

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Given the surge in private renters and constant reminders of our worsening housing crisis, it’s hardly surprising that so many voters are angry and fed up with the state of housing in this country.

“For too long politicians have spent precious tax-payers money on failed homeownership schemes like Help to Buy - that will only ever help a minority - while doing next to nothing for a growing group of hard-pressed private renters.

“Instead of just side-lining millions of private renters, we are calling on the government to hold its nerve and make three-year tenancies the law, and finally commit to building the ambitious volume of social homes we actually need.”

* Shelter https://england.shelter.org.uk/

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