Tenants may decide future elections, says Generation Rent

Renting – not owner occupation – will be the main tenure in over 100 constituencies within the next seven years, so playing a much bigger role than ever before in determining the outcome of general elections according to campaign group Generation Rent.

The organisation, which is part-funded by a charitable foundation run by the Nationwide – says that by 2021, assuming current trends continue, the number of MPs representing areas in which more people live in social housing or privately rented accommodation than own their own homes will have risen to 107, up from 65 in 2010 and 38 in 2001.

The seats are not, as many observers have believed in the past, been inner-city Labour areas.

Instead they include Bournemouth East, which will have 56 per cent of households renting by 2021, and Bournemouth West, where the proportion is expected to rise to 53 per cent. Some 50 per cent of households in the Conservative-held seat of Reading East will also be renting by 2021.

Constituencies which are currently Labour-held and which will see the largest predicted increases in renting households in the next seven years include Luton South and York Central.

“We have got a Parliament that is dominated by homeowner interests and landowner interests. There isn’t a party that’s offering a platform for renters. The question is, which party is going to wake up?” asks Alex Hilton, director of Generation Rent.

“Both [major] parties are wedded to the concept of ownership. But they’re also wedded to the free market that’s preventing the achievement of home ownership. The free market cannot provide for demand because housebuilders make less money if everyone has got a home. They simply stop building homes when house prices stabilise,” claims Hilton.

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