Rents across the UK are rising at the fastest pace since 2008, according to the ‘UK Rental Market Report: Latest insight on the UK Rental Market based on Zoopla’s Rental Index’ published today.
In September, private sector rents were 4.6% higher than a year earlier at £968 a month on average, marking the strongest growth in 13 years.
The Zoopla report uses euphemisms like ‘strong rental demand’, with a ‘doubling of demand in major city centres’ and how ‘rental demand will be higher than supply’ to be seen as positives. But for whom?
The least able will suffer
Despite the testosterone-soaked adjectives being hurled around by those who will gain from the increase in rents, such as landlords and property-letting companies, potentially 2,000,000 renters will be negatively affected.
As of October 6th, the £20 uplift to Universal Credit came to an end. This was already going to cause enormous problems for the recipients and how they paid their rent. With the increases already being applied to rents, and another 4.5% increase to come next year, they will have no way to meet these hugely inflated sums. Undoubtedly this will lead to evictions.
Being stripped of a basic human need
Evictions have almost tripled since the moratorium on these actions ended. Clearly, evictions come with enormous consequences. In addition to the stress, heartache and financial cost families face, it places strain on already underfunded council and voluntary services provided for those forced into homelessness.
Dan Wilson Craw, Deputy Director of Generation Rent, said the report was “terrible news”. He added that since the pandemic, private renters were more likely to be getting housing support through the welfare system.
“But the chancellor has frozen rates for another year, so these rises will make it even harder to find an affordable home. The government has to do much more to bring rents down – that means building more homes, including social housing.”
Shelter, like food, water and warmth, are basic human needs. These are not, nor ever should be considered commodities.
However, make no mistake, commodification is a fundamental, necessary tenet of capitalism. Apart from the ‘simple’ and horrendous notion that is the ‘profit motive’, growth is sought from the constant addition of that which can be commodified.
In addition to ‘commodification’, capital needs us, it needs ‘meat machines’ to operate as their labour.
What better way to ‘encourage’ us to continue to do their menial, mind-numbing, bidding? To continually add value to products to turn into profit for them? Simple, make life contingent on having money to exchange for these life-preserving ‘commodities’!
There is plenty of talk of ‘investing’ in new housing‘ to alleviate issues of demand. Despite the reported large amounts of cash to support such programmes, this is no solution, at best it’s reform.
Those with power are not going to give up on the idea of making a profit. They are not going to overlook the potential for growth. They will not allow enough homes to be built to balance the number in need of shelter with the number of homes.
Most of all, they are not going to give up the ‘arrangement’ they have where we give up our labour for money to buy back what we have toiled to produce; particularly to buy back those ‘commodities’ that are absolutely necessary.
In other words, capital will not give up on the total control they have over us and our lives.
Socialism is the beginning of self-determination. It is the start of breaking that control. It is how we provide what is needed, by all, for all.
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Hi. I am Dave Elliott. I have been deeply interested and invested in politics as far back as I can remember and have been a Socialist since I was approximately seven years old. What a weird and creepy kid, right?
Despite being told that I would ‘grow up and out of’ my left leanings, I have moved further left over time. It has been this journey that led me to understand that my efforts within electoral and party politics were making little if any difference to the material lives of my community and society.
It was this realisation that gave me the kick I needed to make more direct contributions at the grassroots. The creation of the YouTube channel, Party Political Puffin and the associated website have been a way to communicate with Comrades on the left and challenge those on the right.
Whilst writing on a number of other platforms has been cathartic, being part of Critical Mass has opened the door to a place where I meet those that are so committed to each other and the wider movement that it can only inspire me and us all. It is my pleasure, and with pride that I am part of the Critical Mass writing team.
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