While we were never going to come out batting for Jeremy Corbyn his speech this afternoon ending Labour's annual conference in Brighton marked a new low with his promise for rent controls.
Ben Southwood, Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute, said any reliance on rent controls was fantasy economics:
"Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to institute rent controls will lead to smaller properties, shoddier upkeep, and long waiting lists to get a flat. What’s more, it risks cronyism if councils get a role in deciding who jumps to the front of the queue.
"It may come as no surprise that the Adam Smith Institute disagrees with hardline socialist Jeremy Corbyn—but rent control is a rare case where economists almost all agree, left and right.
"95% of top economists agreed rent controls in San Francisco and New York had worsened the amount and quality of affordable rental quality there. And you can see why: prospective tenants in rent-controlled Stockholm languish on waiting lists for 15-years on average—expensive is one thing, but impossible is quite another.
"Unable to make back their investment, landlords in rent-controlled cities let paint peel, carpets mould, and furniture rot. And if you haven’t got connections—whether with property owners or council powerbrokers—then you might be completely out of luck. Even fewer new units are built in the places that need them most, and the ones they do build are lower quality and smaller in order to make it worth their while.
"There are lots of policies that could help fix the housing market—all centred around building more housing—but rent control is one of the few big changes that will make things much, much worse."
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