New analysis has been published by the office of Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, showing that owner-occupiers in London are far more likely to be registered to vote than London tenants. The data was collected by City Hall, indicating a representation gap between renters and owner-occupiers.
Across London as a whole, voter registration among adults was recorded at as much as 86 per cent, with an average of 25 per cent of households renting privately. However, on a more local level, the survey found that in the Borough of Westminster, voter registration was 64 per cent, while 40 per cent of households were private renters.
By contrast, in Havering, only 11 per cent of households rented privately, yet 96 per cent of adults were registered to vote. These findings chimed with Electoral Commission data published in 2014, which suggested that, across Great Britain, 94 per cent of owner-occupiers are registered to vote, and just 63 per cent of private renters are.
The survey analysed data from London’s own electoral roll and identified which boroughs in the capital had the lowest levels of voter registration, as well as the ones with the highest numbers of private renters.
Risk of disenfranchisement
The new data from City Hall was seized upon, as a sign that owner-occupiers are disproportionately having a greater say compared to tenants at the ballot box, especially in areas where the population of private renters is highest.
Portia Msimang, project co-ordinator for Renters’ Rights London, commented: “It’s very worrying that so many Londoners are effectively disenfranchised by their circumstances as private renters…for many years, London rents have risen much faster than wages. If this is allowed to continue, even more of us will be forced to move as a result.”
Mr Khan has been keen to secure greater rights as London Mayor to control London rents, especially as the population of private renters is estimated to have grown from just 11 per cent of the population in the early 1990s to as much as 26 per cent in 2018.
A sizable electorate
Mr Khan commented on the figures, saying: “London has more than two million private renters and they deserve the right to have a say in elections like everyone else.”
In response to rising rents across the capital, City Hall has also published a report, which called on the new government led by Boris Johnson to overhaul tenancy law, to allow the London Mayor to be able to introduce rent controls in the capital.