Author Archives: Olly Grender

Baroness Olly Grender writes…Give renters fair access to affordable credit #makerentcount

Creditworthiness, yet another poverty gap issue, is one that could be so easily closed.

You’ve paid your rent all your life in full on time. You go online to buy a washing machine. You fill in your credit details. But because you’re renting in social housing, that washing machine will cost you somewhere between £300 and almost £1,000 more than someone with a mortgage.

Over two thirds of renters, in private and social housing, pay their rent. Renters are often managing bills, juggling finances and paying a far higher proportion for their housing costs than many owner-occupiers.

Last week, The Big Issue’s John Bird introduced a Bill to make this fairer. It will mean that rent paid in the past, and council tax, will be included when someone applies for credit. It will ensure that renters have as much of a digital identity as owner-occupiers. It will make rent count.

A version of this scheme has already been set up by Big Issue Invest by using rental data. This brilliant project, the Rental Exchange, is transforming credit freedoms. In almost 80% of cases, tenants can gain an improved credit score when rent data is shared, and the evidence also shows a jump from 39% to 84% in digital identity authentication when rent data is included in credit files.

Fairness for renters was the reason for my Renters Rights Bill last year, which focused particularly on banning tenancy fees to lettings agents. Many Lib Dems got behind it and, thanks to our successful campaign, it’s now a Government Bill.

By 2021, nearly one in four of us will be renters, still paying the poverty premium, currently an additional £1,300 for the basics of energy, phones, white goods and furniture. But people living in poverty must not be forgotten about. The financial system drives renters into the arms of the most unscrupulous lenders, which, in turn, drives a vicious cycle of poverty.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 3 Comments

Olly Grender writes…Why Alison Suttie and I are sleeping out tonight

Don’t know about the rest of you but I love my bed.  Nothing makes me appreciate it more than the annual DePaul International sleepout.  

Tonight Alison Suttie and I will be bedding down in the Somerset House courtyard.  We are in a safe secure place in comparison with most people who are homeless and on the streets.

But a night sleeping out in central London is a stark reminder to us of what too many people endure – and in growing numbers.   You don’t feel safe.  You don’t really sleep.  You spend the day feeling pretty ropey.  That is just one night.

The next day I will speak in a debate in the Lords about availability of housing – what a sorry tale that has been over the decades and lies at the heart of a growing crisis of homelessness here in the UK.  Alison has seen DePaul’s work in Odessa in Ukraine and in Bratislava in Slovakia in her international work with Tuberculosis NGOs.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 4 Comments

Obituary: Peter Grender 1936-2017

Peter Grender, Dad, showed tactical genius from an early age.  So determined was he to win the heart of my Mum – Iris, the girl he met at the school dance, that he offered to memorise her phone number for his mate who had spent the evening dancing with her and promptly pretended to forget it. When Iris went out with another boyfriend, Peter would pop round for a regular cuppa with Iris’s Mum, his innate charm won the day!

He was a mix of generosity, wit, creativity, relentless attention to detail but most of all a loyalty and warmth that won and kept him friendships of all ages.

At school, St. Dunstans College Catford, he formed strong friendships that lasted his whole life.  After national service he went into sales and advertising joking that he started at the bottom with sales of laxatives and condoms, so the only way was up.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 7 Comments

Baroness Olly Grender writes…Tales from the Rochester campaign trail

image004Sometimes being a Liberal Democrat is like walking into a bitterly cold prevailing wind with soggy leaflets in one hand and a disappearing map in the other. By-elections can be the epitome of that experience. Especially by-elections where our vote is being squeezed ‘til our eyes water. Which makes every person who turns out in those battles a hero in my eyes. Yes yes we can all cheerily dry out our wet socks on the piping hot radiator of victory at an Eastleigh experience, but it is Rochester that’s character forming!

The team in Rochester are out every day building up a campaign for the future. They are in a part of Kent where UKIP are on the rise but every day on the doorstep they are hearing the message “anything but UKIP”; we almost need a new column on the connect data. And let’s face it, our party is the opposite of UKIP in almost everything we stand for. Last weekend YouGov published a poll which showed that people understand with absolute clarity that the Liberal Democrats are a party that is vastly different from UKIP (see chart below).

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 46 Comments

Baroness Olly Grender’s maiden speech

It is a tradition for LDV to bring its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. On 28 November, Baroness Grender made her maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on broadcast media and its role in the economy. Her words are reproduced below.

Baroness Grender (LD): My Lords, I would like to thank my noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury for introducing this debate. I …

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 8 Comments

Opinion: I always love Conference

I always love conference, in fact I love all three Party conferences. Because inspite of the fact that I am most comfortable with my LibDem tribe I am on the whole comfortable with people with a genuine interest in politics. Let’s face it all of us are such a small proportion of the population.

As I walked through Liverpool in the evening I strongly suspect that those girls dressed up to the nines, well kind of in nothing actually, had no idea they were hosting a party of Government in their hometown.

That is what is so great about conference, …

Posted in Conference | Tagged , , , and | 1 Comment
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