Labour rent capping?

There is a major problem, in particular in London, for people who rent their homes. Many of them are reluctant tenants – they simply cannot get on the rising buyers market. It’s a major problem.


Yesterday Ed Milliband announced that a Labour Government would intervene in the market – effectively placing a cap on rent rises. He wouldn’t interfere with the initial market setting – but would attempt to benchmark the uplift and then apply this notional figure in annual rises.

So in order to make this actually work he would need to alter the basic terms of an agreement. As now, a tenant would be able to terminate a tenancy after the first six months, with one month’s notice. A landlord could only do so with two months’ notice and if certain conditions were met – such as the tenant failing to meet their rental payments, engaging in anti-social behaviour or breaching their contract in other ways. After the six-month probationary period, contracts would automatically run for a further 29 months – so a total of 3 years.

Milliband has suggested the RICS were helping with setting the average rises – something that has been denied by the RICS. This seems a little sloppy. I do know from the Institution that they do not take political sides. The RICS is apolitical.

I think this is a poorly thought out policy.

I have sympathy with those renting – and the inexorable rise in rents. But this is partly as a result of a lack of supply – and the market sorts that out itself. We do have a number of policies to provide more accommodation in the private rented sector. There are millions of pounds being currently placed in the market. Enough to make a difference. These investors and developers could easily be spooked by rent caps. Historically they have not worked.

What will potentially happen is that there will be a reduction in the numbers of houses coming forward. The market hates Government intervention and Governments of all colours think they can buck the market. In the majority of cases they simply can’t.

Notingham – the business plan – SWOT analysis – part four – “T”

The final part of the SWOT analysis – what are the threats to us?


This is a tough one – especially if we are to be honest.

In some ways we are our own biggest threat. I think we sometimes beat ourselves up when we don’t need to. I guess that is sometimes because we see better things on the other patch of green grass. And there is no harm in that. We should aspire to better. In fact the City are pushing a message of ‘good’ to ‘great’.

Politically the strength of the Labour movement locally can be perceived as a bad thing. Not because there are bad politicians but rather that opposition is ineffective. I’m not sure this is healthy – but I can’t seeing it change any time soon. I think this remains a threat to the City.

We also have two Cities close by who are snapping at our heels. We have Leicester with a bigger and more culturally diverse population and we have Derby who have a very clear marketing message and position – they punch above their weight. We have to be careful not to be complacent; simply saying we are ‘better’ doesn’t quite was in these times. We have to prove we are better.

Something that will emerge over the next few years (months?) is technology – and this threat applies to all major Cities. We have to be ready for the massive change in technology – particularly with the necessity to be connected. If we don’t get connected then we will suffer long term consequences. Fast internet connections, wifi, augmented reality applications and connections are going to play an increasingly important part of our lives.

Like all of the parts of this ‘business plan’ these things are all connected. Have I missed anything obvious?

An unlikely union?

I have very little time for Russell Brand – I think it must be my age. I find him mildly irritating – like razor burn. But I do acknowledge that he is no fool – he is clearly very intelligent.


Jeremy Paxman on the other hand is equally cerebral – and a political bruiser. I quite like him – but only when in combative style.

So the revelation that Paxman agrees with Brand on the future of politics caught my eye. I didn’t see the interview but understand Brand was berating politicians for trotting out the same old same old – but getting progressively worse. He said he had never voted because of “absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery and deceit of the political class“.

Initially Paxman picked a fight – but this week has announced that he too didn’t vote at the last election and he had a message for the next,

At the next election we shall have a choice between the people who’ve given us five years of austerity, the people who left us this mess, and the people who signed public pledges that they wouldn’t raise student fees, and then did so – the most blatant lie in recent political history

We value our freedom in this country and I am a firm believer in democracy. But you do have to wonder about how much influence we really have. I think you’ll conclude ‘none’ if you think about it long enough!

Democracy is alive and well here in Nottingham…

It’s local elections in my constituency. We are being bombarded with leaflets. The Labour folk want to dismiss our Conservative councillors – if they do so then we’ll just about have 100% Labour and no opposition…


But an alternative has arrived – who I think may just have it.

Grumpy Old Elvis might just be on the wrong side of the sanity line, but he’s got some great manifesto points. Anti-HS2 won’t get my vote, but his second manifesto point must surely be a vote winner. He wants my local pub to stop ripping us off – £1.51 for a half of John Smiths compared to £2.49 for a pint. He’s written to the brewery, but is waiting for a response. Odd that. Guess they hear a lot from Elvis.

I can’t subject you to his you tube video – because it is so bad, but there is a beautiful poem on it, which I hope he’ll appreciate me sharing with you, it goes like this:

Us rabbits like bonking in our underground property,
If your train spoils our fun,
We’ll come to your garden and eat all your broccoli.

This squares with his policy on ‘Alien animals’. The truly superb solution, “nothing at all apart from sending poodles back to France if they haven’t got a job“.

This is just what what we need in Nottingham.

The Mayor Of Nottingham

As I headed back across the pond toward Blighty yesterday, a timely reminder that all of Nottingham should turn out to vote tomorrow! And whilst I was in the air, I gather that I had my 15 minutes of fame (well 15 seconds) on both the National 6 o’clock and 10 o’clock news….

It’s time for the referendum on whether Nottingham should have a Mayor. My view has always been ‘yes’ – and this means a change in how Nottingham is run.

Having spent the last few days in New York and watched that City grow up over the last twenty five years I’m convinced that we need strong leadership. Giuliani changed things for the better. He sorted crime with his zero tolerance policy. He created a seismic shift. The place is better for it.

Unfortunately we don’t seem to have been able to engage the ruling Labour Party over the last few weeks. They seemed to have been intent on a ‘negative’ campaign. Latterly they have clung on to a ‘racism card’ – suggesting that Mayor could be a BNP supporter? Previously though it was spin about the costs, corruption and fat cat salaries as I blogged about here.

I have said before that I think Nottingham has great ingredients – Confetti / Antenna for the creatives, Nottingham Contemporary for Art, Bio-City for the scientists and, amongst other things, tow World Class Universities. What it seems to me that we don’t have is a recipe to bring these things to gather – and we certainly don’t have a master-chef.

A Mayor could be that master-chef?

We have so much potential, but seem to get dragged down in small-time party politics.

This is an opportunity to play a bigger part in the UK. Cameron is offering seats at a Mayoral Cabinet – do we really want to be listening outside the door? Really?

I have seen at first hand how inward investment works – you need someone to go to. You need someone who makes things happen. Although I have respect for some of our local Politicians I am of the view that the system we have at present need change if we want to see see change in the City. A change of perception, a change of direction (up) and a change in our future fortune…

I know which way I’ll be voting tomorrow – assuming Mr Branson gets me home in one piece!

By Tim Garratt Posted in Nottingham Tagged 10 o'clock news, 6 o'clock news, BBC1, BNP, , Mayor, Mayor of Nottingham, , Racism, Rudy Giuliani

Mayor Part Two….

I promise not to blog about the Mayoral issue again at least for a few days…

Last night there was a letter at home for my son, he shared the contents with me.

The headlines:
1. £1m wasted
2. Fat Cat Pay – £120k pa. for Mayor
3. Corruption – one person to influence.
4. No Say – local Councillors have no say.
5. Stalemate – one party Mayor, the other party in control = arguing.

Oh, and “After 718 years, the Tories plan to scrap Nottingham’s traditional Mayor and Sheriff and replace them with an extra Mayor costing more than £1m

Is this it?

1. I still don’t get the £1m figure (or is it ‘more than £1m’) – the cost of a referendum and two elections seems to be estimated at £300k? The rest must be salary?
2. Fat Cat Pay (ignore the emotive stuff) I wonder where the figure comes from – the average suggested by Government is £88,267? And savings could be made as some of the roles are duplicated?
3. Corruption – doesn’t even warrant a discussion. Suggest they need to look close to home on this one.
4. No say – not sure this is entirely correct. The Mayor doesn’t abolish the Council.
5. So the Labour party assume that the Mayor would be Tory? Do they know something we don’t?

Where is the suggestion we would lose the Sheriff of Nottingham? Is this just emotive clap-trap?

Come on guys – we can do better than this in the debate surely. This is small time politics and pure spin in part. Time for a grown up discussion?

The thing I don’t really understand is why Labour have thrown in the towel? Surely it would be better to embrace the process – and with their present power base you might expect them to romp home to victory?

Off the fence Gordon

Yesterdays gaffe was a real cringe moment for the general election; and Gordon Brown in particular.

it was all her fault - the one on his right

His description of Gillian Duffy as a ‘bigoted woman‘ was a priceless moment in TV history and I think may seal his fate next week. It is difficult to imagine how he must feel, but the video of him on Jeremy Vine’s radio show, gives a clue!

Sky TV last night were asking whether the voters really care. I think they do. This was a blatant two-faced moment.

He had just said “Very nice to meet you, very nice to meet you.”

Then, “That was a disaster – they should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? It’s just ridiculous … She’s just a sort of bigoted woman that said she used to be Labour. I mean it’s just ridiculous. I don’t know why Sue brought her up towards me.”

As his wife said back in February, “Gordon’s the man that I know and the man that I love. People have heard me talk about him and they probably know everything that I would have to say about him, I know him as a strong, hard-working decent man and he isn’t anything else. What you see is what you get with him.”

This was after Immigration Minister Phil Woolas had suggested National Bullying Helpline boss, Christine Pratt was one (a prat).

It seems that these Politicians have rather lost touch with the electorate?

But you can’t accuse him of being on the fence… A little less truth serum today perhaps?

Taxi for Mr Brown?