Wednesday, 8 January 2014

my letter to rushanara ali MP

I decided to write to my MP (first time I have ever done so) about something currently on my mind and I'd like to share it here.

Hi Rushanara Ali,

I'm writing to enquire about what you or any of your colleagues are doing about the current housing crisis.

Just to give you some background as to my own situation; I live in a 2-bed former council mould encrusted flat with dodgy plumbing, which I share with my boyfriend, another couple and a single man (the living room was converted into a third bedroom). If you think that sounds awfully crowded, you'd be right. For the privilege of this, each room is rented out at in between £600-£650 a month. My case is not unique, but rather fairly typical of young people living in London. Now, if you are a heartless neo-liberal you will consider our landlord/estate agent wonderfully enterprising, but if you are more like the rest of the population you will consider them both parasitic, intercepting an existing resource and extracting rents from it in a way that they would not have been able to do so were the market not distorted from right-to-buy, buy-to-let loans, planning permission & all-round lax laws on property maintenance. All of which have resulted in a widening gap between the rich and the poor.

Since you are an adult and a politician with a proper job, I'm going to presume you know your stuff when it comes to the housing market and don't want to patronise you by explaining how all of those have created a choke-hold on not just the poor, but many of the middle class and certainly most young people today ("generation rent") and caused our limited housing stock to be concentrated in the hands of a few, especially wealthy foreigners.

You may point to the fact it is more expensive to live in London because of all the wonderful tourist attractions, public services, and be tempted to suggest that I just move out if I don't like giving so much to the landlords. If that is the case I would like to remind you that it is not the landlord who builds museums, hospitals, schools etc which add the value to his property, but the taxpayer; as Adam Smith said "The landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed".

So how do you/the Labour party plan to fix this mess?

Yours sincerely,

Emma Davids, unemployed 25 year old

Of course, I don't really expect the Labour Party to fix the mess, in my opinion they are wholly unelectable. I am more interested in opening up a dialogue to see how she defends such policies which have exacerbated the housing crisis.

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