50 Years Ago: You and The Rent Act

October 6th is a significant date in landlord’s diaries, for on that day the first instalment of rent increases under the new Rent Act becomes payable. Even if the reader of this article has not the dubious advantage of living in a rent-controlled property, it is highly probably that he or she has already faced a substantial rise in the cost-of-living due to rate-increases or to the withdrawal of housing subsidies.(…)

From all this, one hopes that workers will realise (in case they hadn’t realised it before) just how hollow was Mr. Butler’s assertion that the standard of living would be doubled in twenty-five years, and just how empty were the election promises to solve the housing problem. Of one thing workers can be sure—that this Act will not get more houses built, and will not in the slightest degree solve the problem of overcrowding and bad housing. One might add also that the Labour Party’s proposals to nationalise rent-controlled property and put up the rents will do just as little to solve them. The solution to the problem is fairly obvious—that is, for building workers to build decent homes for the people to live in, without landlords, without investment, and without rent-control or rents. The trouble is that Capitalism does not permit of simple solutions of this kind, and so we go on, eternally arguing about what are not more than the effects of an irrational, crazy social system, instead of doing the obvious thing—to replace that system by a sane and reasonable one.

(From front page article by A.W.I., Socialist Standard, September 1957)

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