Labour likens evictions ban ending to Tories’ exams fiasco

Labour’s housing spokeswoman says “after the incompetent handling of the exams fiasco, the government must act now to avoid more chaos of its own making” in the shape of private rental evictions.

Shadow Housing Secretary Thangam Debbonaire has written to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick to say that with the furlough scheme coming to an end and Coronavirus infections rising, the government should set out how it would prevent a “self-made homelessness crisis”.

She writes: “Veering from crisis to crisis is no way to run a country… after the incompetent handling of the exams fiasco, the government must act now to avoid more chaos of its own making.”

Debbonaire is calling for emergency legislation to ensure no one will lose their home because of Coronavirus.

Her letter says Labour does not want to see the ban on evictions lifted until “the government has introduced changes to our broken housing system that will protect tenants”.

Specifically this means the permanent abolition of Section 21 evictions and revisions to Section 8 evictions to prevent automatic eviction for tenants whose income had been hit by the pandemic.

Debbonaire cites the figure provided by campaigning charity Shelter, claiming some 227,000 private renters have fallen into arrears since the pandemic and could lose their homes when the ban on evictions is lifted next week.

The National Residential Landlords Association disputes the figure.

Earlier this week nine Labour and 10 Liberal Democrat MPs urged the government to guarantee councils financial support to house rough sleepers for a year, and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell demanded the ban on evictions be extended for at least a year.

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