Home is where the heart is
When I was in my twenties, I did what others in my generation did; I completed my education, got a job, got a home of my own and started a family, and I always hoped that my children would be able to do the same. But here in Tooting, and across London, house prices have rocketed, with the average home in Tooting costing over half a million pounds. The private rented sector fares no better – and in many ways its worse – with letting agents charging extortionate fees and rents going through the roof. There are thousands of families living in private rented accommodation across London, living in fear of being thrown out with two months notice, or being told to accept huge rent increases or face eviction. That’s no way to live your life or plan for the future. That’s why, in December I called for families to have the right to longer-term tenancies and predictable rents, to provide security and prevent landlords from hiking up rents.
Yesterday, I am delighted to say, the Labour Leader, Ed Miliband, committed to doing just that. If Labour win the next General Election we will make three year tenancies the standard in the private rented sector and put a ceiling on excessive rent rises. Not only that, but we would ban letting agents from charging tenants – which means no more £300/£400 fees for signing a tenancy agreement. So overall, this means more money in your pocket and more security to plan for the future. Along with pledges to build garden cities and 200,000 new homes a year until 2020, we finally have a clear plan to solving our housing crisis. You can read more about this here.
Have we seen the last new betting shop open in Tooting?
I hope so! This week saw a huge success for our ‘Save Our High Street’ campaign as the government announced that local councils will be given more powers to prevent new betting shops from opening. For over six months we have said that Tooting has far too many betting shops (22 to be exact!) and enough was enough. I’m pleased to say our message finally got through. Once this latest legislation is passed, Wandsworth Council will have no excuse for failing to stop more betting shops from opening – success!
But the campaign to ‘Save Our High Street’ doesn’t end here. We want to see the government give our community the power to reduce the number of betting shops already open in Tooting, and much more needs to be done to protect our local heritage, including the Defoe Chapel, which I mentioned last week. I will also be working with local residents to call on Wandsworth Council to make our high streets safer and cleaner, and take action to promote a better variety of shops for our community. If you share my concerns, and want to be part of the campaign, click here, and you can find out more about our betting shop success here.
Have your say on May 22nd
Local residents regularly get in touch to find out how to register themselves or their children to vote, and with local council and European elections coming up I thought you might be interested in this information. Registering is easy – it takes minutes, just click here – and do pass this on to any friends or family that might be interested in this information too. But, remember, the deadline for registering for this month’s elections, is midnight on 6th May.
If you want to vote in your own time, and don’t think you can make it to the polling station on the day, you can also apply to vote by post. All the information you need is here, and you have until 5pm on 7th May to return the form.
Until next time,