Labour silent on whether pre-Covid evictions should go ahead

Labour has thrown its weight behind campaigning pressure groups in a general call to avoid what the party’s housing spokeswoman calls “an eviction crisis in the autumn”.

However, the party has declined to say whether evictions in the pipeline before the outbreak of Coronavirus should be heard once the ban is lifted.

Shadow housing minister Thangam Debbonaire has told MPs her party now stands with pressure groups on the issue – although she does not say specifically how evictions may be avoided.

She said in the Commons: “Local Housing Allowance doesn’t even cover average rents, anyone with no recourse to average funds doesn’t even get Universal Credit, and over a million people are struggling with rent.

“But this is fixable. So will the government heed, today, the calls of Shelter, Citizens Advice, Generation Rent, numerous charities and building societies – and the Labour Party – act now, and prevent people from losing their homes in an eviction crisis in the autumn.”

In social media posts supporting Debbonaire and including her Commons statements, Generation Rent says: “We need a permanent end to unfair evictions and a plan to tackle rent debt before it’s too late.”

In a later tweet by Debbonaire herself, she clarified Labour’s policy by saying she wanted: “Exactly as Generation Rent, Shelter, etc – increase in Universal Credit and Local Housing Allowance, suspend Section 8 and Section 21 evictions.

Then another Twitter user asked Debbonaire whether she and Labour believe that an apparent 20,000 pre-Covid eviction notices are already in the system – 15,000 involving social landlords and 5,000 involving the private sector.

Debbonaire declined to answer the question.

Yesterday morning Letting Agent Today asked the Labour Party for a definitive position on its policy; to date, there has been no reply.

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