homeFriday 20th July 2018

Housing crisis swinging voters to Labour

Katie Coyne15/06/2017 - 12:11

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High rental areas swing away from Conservatives
High rental areas swing away from Conservatives

Higher house prices and areas with higher than average numbers of private renters, may have swung voters to Labour.

Housing campaign group Generation Rent has found a correlation between areas of higher than average number of private renters and a swing away from the Conservatives to Labour and the Lib Dems.

This includes the shock election result that saw the Labour candidate win in the exclusive west London area of Kensington, the country’s richest constituency. Kensington is home to Britain’s richest street, Kensington Gardens, where the average property costs £38.3m.

Emma Dent Coad won the, supposedly, Conservative 'safe seat' for Labour by 20 votes.  And this is also the first time the Kensington constituency has ever had a Labour MP.

Generation Rent found that twenty of the 32 seats that the Conservatives lost to Labour and the Lib Dems had more private renters than average.

The campaign group looked at 2011 census figures and found that the 32 seats lost by the Conservatives had an average private rented sector (PRS) of 19%. Yet the average in the country as a whole was 16%. In the case of Kensington, for example, it had a 36% PRS.

Generation Rent interim director, Dan Wilson Craw, said: ‘Clearly there’s no way to boil down the results of an election to one issue because there’s a lot going on. There are a number of issues that are effecting young people, and we saw a big shift in their voting pattern this election, and housing was clearly one.

‘There were various other issues like education – schools and university fees that were factors too - and Brexit. But we have seen that people under the age of 45 voted overwhelmingly for Labour.

‘On housing issues Labour were ahead on the Conservatives. Labour were more detailed in their proposals on housing although the Conservatives did put forward more than they had done in past years. But Labour was more ambitious in their proposals.’

Generation Rent had previously identified 93 renter marginals – areas that had a high number of private renters who were floating voters - and of these 31 changed hands.

Housing journal Inside Housing has also analysed data and found a correlation between house prices and voter swing. It found that areas with higher house prices were more likely to swing from the Conservatives to Labour in the 2017 general election, even outside London.

Canterbury was another shock Labour win with single mother Rosie Duffield becoming a first time MP for Labour. The constituency has a 21% PRS and in the 2015 election had a Conservative majority of almost 10,000.

The Conservatives had held the Canterbury seat since 1918 and Duffield won by just 187 votes, unseating former frontbench MP Sir Julian Brazier.

The list of the 20 constituencies identified by Generation Rent are: Portsmouth South; Battersea; Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport; Reading East; Enfield, Southgate; Bath; Brighton, Kemptown; Eastbourne; Ipswich; Kingston and Surbiton; Canterbury; Croydon Central; Lincoln; Twickenham; Warwick and Leamington; Bedford; Peterborough; Derby North; Oxford West and Abingdon; and the Vale of Clwyd.



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