Ed Miliband will pledge to make the housing market fairer for private renters on Saturday as he adds weight to the Labour Party’s ‘One Nation’ strategy.
The Labour leader is to warn that action is needed to prevent damaging social divisions between home owners and those who rent.
The message comes in a speech to the Fabian Society, in which he will again seek to distance his party from some of the most controversial elements of the last government’s record.
He will admit that New Labour was “too timid in enforcing rights and responsibilities, especially at the top, and it was too sanguine about the consequences of the rampant free markets”.
Miliband’s speech will continue the ‘One Nation’ theme established at the Labour conference
“By the time we left office, too many of people of Britain didn’t feel as if the Labour Party was open to their influence, or listening to them,” Miliband will say.
“For me, the most obvious example is immigration. I bow to nobody in my celebration of the multi-ethnic, diverse nature of Britain.
“But high levels of migration were having huge effects on the lives of people in Britain – and too often those in power seemed not to accept this.
“The fact that they didn’t explains partly why people turned against us in the last general election.
“We have to move on from New Labour, as well as from this government.”
Miliband is to tell the event in central London that if Labour wins the next general election it will have to find ways of achieving change while tackling a lingering deficit.
“One Nation Labour has learnt the lessons of the financial crisis. It begins from the truth that New Labour did not do enough to bring about structural change in our economy to make it work for the many, not just the few. It did not do enough to change the rules of the game that were holding our economy back,” he will say.
Spelling out his concerns about the housing market, the Opposition leader is to point out that 3.6 million households – including one million with children – are now in privately rented accommodation. The numbers are bigger than in the social rented sector for the first time in almost half a century.
Miliband will address the inequality in the housing market in his Fabian Society speech
“We cannot have two nations divided between those who own their own homes and those who rent,” Miliband will say.
“Most people who rent have responsible landlords and rental agencies. But there are too many rogue landlords and agencies either providing accommodation which is unfit or ripping off their tenants.
“And too many families face the doubt of a two month notice period before being evicted. Imagine being a parent with kids settled in a local school and your family settled in your home for two, three, four years, facing that sort of uncertainty.
“We would introduce a national register of landlords and greater powers for local authorities to root out and strike off the rogues.
“We would end the confusing, inconsistent and opaque fees and charges regime, making fees easily understandable, upfront and comparable.
“And we will seek to remove the barriers that stand in the way of longer term tenancies.”