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Corbyn probes Cameron on ‘social cleansing’ in London’s rental sector

Jeremy Corbyn MP Jeremy Corbyn MP

Monday, July 7, 2014
4:34 PM

Inflated rents have led to “social cleansing” in London, Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn has said.

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Mr Corbyn made the claim during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons on Thursday, when he asked for assurances from the Conservative leader David Cameron that he would consider bringing back rent control.

Mr Cameron told the Labour MP that while he would be looking into letting agents fees he would not consider rent controls, saying they did not work.

Mr Corbyn has been in constant opposition of high private sector rents and put forward a private members bill in 2013 in the hope of regulating letting agents.

He said: “Across London there are thousands and thousands of families, people that work, people on benefits, who are frightened of the rent increases, frightened of short term tenancy and frightened of the consequences for themselves and their children of being evicted or forced to move out of the areas in which they live.

“It’s social cleansing that’s happening in central London and it’s coming to the rest of the country.

“Can he [Mr Cameron] give me any assurance that in addition to any regulation of the agencies there will be serious consideration about the need to bring back rent control in this country to protect people to ensure they have somewhere secure and decent to live?”

The average weekly rent for a one bed flat in Islington is £325, well above the London average of £255 a week, with the average price in the borough for a room within a house or flat share at £165 a week. The average house price in the borough currently stands at £608,521, above the London average of £439,719 and the national price of £172,035.

Cameron: “I would agree with the honourable gentleman that there is a neet for greater transparency for the work of letting aganest in terms of fees.

“Where I would part company is with the idea of introducing full-on rent controls.

“Wherever they’ve been tried they’ve failed and that’s not just my view it’s the view of Labour’s shadow housing minister.”

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