Alan Whitehead

Labour MP for Southampton Test

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Fighting for decent housing

unfit_for_habitation.jpegI usually spend Fridays in Southampton meeting constituents and community groups. However last Friday I was in Parliament to support a bill that will improve the lives of thousands in our city.

Karen Buck MP tried to introduce a bill back in 2015 requiring landlords and letting agents to ensure homes they let are fit for human habitation. The Tories talked it out denying MPs a vote on it. Then in 2016 Labour introduced the proposals as an amendment to the Housing and Planning act. It was defeated when 219 Tories voted against the interests of renters and against making sure they had the right to decent housing.

The Tories’ denial of tenants’ rights has been frustrating to me. Southampton has a relatively large proportion of people living in rented accommodation, many of whom have been in contact with me regarding sub-standard housing. On top of this over 700,000 children across England are living in dangerous rented accommodation.

Not one to give up, Karen Buck re-introduced the bill last week and there was enough support for it to be passed to the next stage. The Government have now said that they will support any legislation forcing landlords to keep their properties up to scratch. It’s now my job to make sure they see this through for the sake of all renters in Southampton Test.

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