Labour plans £20m fund to roll out renters’ unions to help private tenants

More power would be handed to renters with a multimillion-pound expansion of renters’ unions under a Labour government.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey announced a £20 million fund for renters’ unions at the party’s conference in Liverpool.

And he reaffirmed plans for a crackdown on second home ownership, to give the “have-nots” the chance of owning a first home.

Mr Healey said renters’ unions would provide support for the 11.5 million tenants in the private rental sector during disputes, as well as raising the profile of renters’ issues.

He said: “In year one, we will legislate for new renters’ rights to control costs, improve conditions and increase security.

“But we know that our rights are worthless when we can’t enforce them, in the workplace or in the housing market.

“So I can announce today, the next Labour government will back new unions for renters, and fund them in every part of the country – so renters who feel helpless in the face of this housing crisis can organise and defend their rights.”

Unionisation is among a raft of measures the party would introduce to give more rights and power to people who do not own a home.

Meanwhile, holiday home owners would face a new £560 million tax to tackle homelessness and address rising wealth inequality.

Mr Healey said: “It will fall to Labour to put a brake on the growing gap between Britain’s housing ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ and ensure those who have done well out of the housing market do not leave behind those with no home at all.

“So today I can also announce the next Labour government will strike a blow against housing inequality with a new national levy on second homes used as holiday homes, to help give homeless families the chance of a first home.”

Under the plans, second properties in England used as holiday homes would be subject to an average tax bill of more than £3,200.

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