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Labour warns that government must act now to protect renters

The Labour Party has called on the government to extend the evictions ban, which is due to end on Sunday 20 September, to avoid a homelessness crisis this winter.

Shadow Housing Secretary Thangam Debbonaire accused the government of “prioritising reopening old wounds on Brexit above protecting renters.”

After the ban was extended in August, Debbonaire wrote to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick calling on him to use the time to bring in legislation to protect renters, and keep his promise that “no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home.”

The Labour Party has highlighted that the government failed to bring forward legislation to stop automatic evictions.

Debbonaire said: “Coronavirus cases are rising, vast swathes of the country are set to be under local lockdown, and the COVID jobs crisis is set to get worse.

“This is no time for the government to re-start evictions.

“The government is walking right into a homelessness crisis this winter.

“They’ve wasted the short time they bought themselves by extending the ban in August, prioritising reopening old wounds on Brexit above protecting renters.

“The ban must be extended before Sunday, and the government needs to come forward with a credible plan to keep their promise that no renter will lose their home because of Coronavirus.”

Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley, said: “The government has played a crucial part in protecting renters from eviction throughout the coronavirus, but we would like to see additional protection for landlords.

“Evidence shows rent arrears are rising. No one should be made homeless at this time.

“However, landlords cannot be expected to indefinitely subsidise financially distressed tenants who have been hit by COVID-19 – that should be the job of the government.”

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