The Housing Minister's claim that 'rents are falling' was rejected as 'irresponsible' by a DCH deputation to the Minister's CLG office today.
Catherine West, leader of Islington Council, told Minister Grant Shapps' housing advisors that rents are not falling in London, and the Minister should retract his statement (on BBC radio Today programme 08.15am this morning).
Austin Mitchell MP, Councillor Catherine West, Robert Taylor of National Organisation of Private Tenants, Carol Hayton and Eileen Short DCH, met the Minister's advisors to highlight the urgent and growing housing crisis.
We demanded protection against Councils sending families to private lets hundreds of miles away, with a right to reject unreasonable moves.
Other issues raised included the disastrous impact of Housing Benefit cuts and Council tax changes; Councils and housing association landlords' use and abuse of new powers to cut tenancies and raise rents; unaffordable new rents; the injustice of the bedroom tax; improved rights for private tenants; failure to replace homes sold under right to buy; and further privatisation threats to council housing.
High council rent increases this year will be followed by further big rises, of 36% over five years, well above the 22% inflation predicted.
Austin Mitchell MP, Chair of the Council Housing Group of MPs, said:
'We've got a big housing problem right now, but the actual build of new homes is pathetic. There is an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty for tenants, particularly in the private sector. All this leads to high rents, insecurity and shipping people round the country like the poor law used to do.
'We were attempting to underline the scale of the problems and I hope it gets through to the Minister.'
On right to buy, advisors confirmed that only extra sales above current predictions will be replaced, and new homes will be at up to 80% market rents, with fixed-term tenancies - not the secure, genuinely affordable and accountable homes desperately needed by the nearly 5 million people on council waiting lists.
Tenants, trade unions, councillors and MPs are demanding investment in secure, genuinely-affordable, and accountable council and other homes for rent, as an alternative to the waste and exploitation of soaring private rents.