York’s new Labour administration has pledged to ‘develop an offer’ for York’s essential workers such as nurses and care staff who are ‘increasingly finding it impossible’ to afford to live and work in York.

It has also promised to ‘take a more robust approach’ on short-term holiday lets in the city, and to improve standards in the private rented sector through an ‘extension of licensing which holds landlords to an agreed set of standards’.

But it has warned that, like other councils across the country, it does not have the power to impose rent controls on privately-rented homes in the city.

Responding to a call from Denise Craghill, the ousted former Green executive member for housiong, to press for greater powers to control private rents, Labour’s new executive-member elect for housing Cllr Michael Pavlovic said: “Rent controls are something we’d happily implement in York - were the powers to exist.

“The Government’s measures on restricting rent don’t go far enough and risk consigning another generation of York residents to the housing waiting list when they can’t afford the huge cost of rents in a city becoming more and more unaffordable for a significant number of them.”

Ms Craghill, who lost her seat in the recent council elections but remains the York Greens spokesperson on housing, said that the city council was already committed to building an ‘evidence base’ to monitor the impact of short-term holiday lets on York’s housing market.

But she called on the city’s new Labour administration to do more.

In a letter to the Press, Ms Craghill said the council should also look at the impact of student housing and shared housing (HMOs) on the housing market in York.

She added: “This will make the city ready for changes in Government legislation, make it possible to strengthen local policy on protecting long-term residential lets via a Local Plan review and support a bid to the Government (perhaps via the new Combined Authority) for powers to implement rent controls – a policy that surely York Labour should be standing up for?”

Cllr Pavlovic, who formally takes over as executive member for housing at full council on Thursday, said: “We welcome ex-Cllr Craghill’s interest in these areas but are disappointed that she didn’t take the opportunity to address them while in coalition with Liberal Democrats for the past four years.”

He added: “Our administration will have a strong focus on improving all forms of housing, be that social housing, private rented or owner occupied through maximising the use of grants for energy efficiency improvements.

“We will also develop an offer for York’s essential workers such as nurses and care workers who are vital to the health and wellbeing of the city’s residents, but who are increasingly finding it impossible to live and work in York.

“We must find a way to improve the council’s own stock which has been in decline after a significant period of underinvestment, with many residents living in sub-standard conditions.

“The council under Labour control will take a more robust approach to enforcing, and where possible, restricting short term holiday lets in our city.

“We’ll also take steps to improve homes in the private rented sector, including homes in multiple occupation through an extension of licensing which holds landlords to an agreed set of standards.”