The minister for development, José Luis Ábalos, with President Armengol.

28-03-2019Miquel À. Cañellas

At meetings in Palma about housing organised by the UGT union, there was agreement between union, national and regional government representatives about the necessity to increase the availability of "social renting" in order to compensate for ever higher housing prices.

The general secretary of the UGT, Pepe Álvarez, called for a national agreement on housing. He referred to the case of the Balearics, criticising the fact that seasonal workers coming to the islands are unable to find affordable accommodation. He stated that the cost to rent should be no greater than 25% of household income and expressed support for proposals to regulate rental prices.

These came from representatives of political parties at the meetings. Cristina Gómez of Podemos argued in favour of fixed prices for both private and public rental properties. Damià Borràs of PSOE and Joana Aina Campomar of Més, while agreeing in principle, suggested that these prices should take account of circumstances in specific areas.

Helena Beunza, the Spanish government's general secretary for housing, believed that the state has an obligation to make affordable renting attractive to the private sector. She added that a serious debate was needed before establishing price controls.

The national minister for development, José Luis Ábalos, and President Armengol were both at the meetings. They agreed that there is a need to increase the public supply of social renting. Armengol referred to the challenge posed by the increasing difficulty of accessing housing, while Ábalos said that the shortage of housing requires planning that guarantees the constitutional right to a decent home.