Tessa Jowell warns Labour colleagues to think twice about calling for rent cap

Friday, 17th April 2015

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DAME Tessa Jowell has warned that people pushing for a rent cap in London should think twice about the policy idea.

“I think before taking a step like that you have to be very clear that it doesn’t have unintended consequences,” said the former culture secretary, who is hoping to clinch Labour’s London mayoral nomination. She did not elaborate on what those consequences might be, but said it was time for landlords to offer longer leases and a higher quality of accommodation.

Dame Tessa said: “If you have a six-month lease in very poor accommodation, it doesn’t feel like home. It just feels like somewhere you can afford to live for a period of time.”

She was speaking to the New Journal as she joined Labour’s general election campaign in Hampstead and Kilburn alongside comedian Eddie Izzard, a Labour supporter, canvassing in a two-piece suit and high heels, on Sunday.

Labour’s election candidate Tulip Siddiq used to work for Dame Tessa. The former Olympics minister added that there was “a growing sense that London was a city for the very poor and the ultra rich” and that she was tired of investors buying up homes like “gold bars”.

The idea of rent caps has been floated within Camden’s Labour Party for several months. Last year, council leader Sarah Hayward wrote a newspaper article on the difficulty facing those searching for an affordable home.

She said: “A number of things would help. These include longer tenancies, stabilising rents with either a cap or at least consistent increases to help tenants manage costs, and cracking down on letting agency fees.”

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