Generation Rent brings the housing debate to Westminster in run-up to general election

Owen Jones. Pic: Hannah Calder and Kate Bytheway

Owen Jones. Pic: Hannah Calder and Kate Holley

With over 70% of Londoners’ wages being spent on rent, campaign group Generation Rent hosted ‘Rent Freedom Day’ on Wednesday, hoping for Parliamentary solutions to the housing crisis.

Held at Central Hall Westminster, the pressure group encouraged voters to engage with the growing issue of rent control, notably in the lead up to the general election in May.

Generation Rent stated: “There are now ten million private renters in Britain and for the first time we have enough votes to decide the next election. Politicians can no longer ignore us.”

With 20 other campaign groups, including Digs, Shelter, Housing Unite and Tower Hamlets Renters, Generation Rent staged this daylong affair, filled with guest speakers, including Guardian columnist, Owen Jones.

“Enough is enough”, said Jones. “You’ve got to put pressure on Westminster. Not to ask politely, but to command change.” He added that five million people are now trapped on social housing lists, and are therefore deprived of a basic human right: Housing.

The day ended with a husting session, giving the public an opportunity to question MP’s about their housing policies and potential solutions. The panel, chaired by Sky News Editor Faisal Islam, consisted of Green Party MP Caroline Lucas; Conservative MP and CLG Select Committee member, Mark Pawsey; Labour MP and Shadow Housing Minister, Emma Reynolds; and Liberal
Democrat MP and Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Stephen Williams, creating a heated debate.

This informative day added to the success of the ‘March For Homes’ last weekend, which brought together a variety of campaigners, tenants and trade unionists, with both events demanding that Government build more council homes and reducing private rentals.

Video by Hannah Calder and Kate Holley

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