Unite Calls on Government to Extend Ban on Evictions

Housing Campaigners from Unite the Union, Cambridge Labour and Acorn renters union will demonstrate outside the county court on East Road Cambridge from 12pm this Saturday 22nd August to demand the government extends the Evictions Ban.
The ban on evictions was introduced by the government as part of a raft of measures to protect people during lockdown, it is due to end on Sunday and campaigners worry it will lead to a thousands of tenants being evicted who may have fallen into rent arrears!
James Youd from Unite said,
“Shelter estimate that 227,000 tenants have fallen into rent arrears because of Coronavirus and the economic toll it has taken. It is wrong to put those struggling on Furlough and job insecurity at the mercy of landlords, who’s main motivation may not always be the welfare of their tenants. A guarantee that people won’t be evicted is needed now!The government must intervene now and extend the evictions ban for at least a year. Meanwhile, instead of deregulation of planning to give developers even more of a free pass to act socially irresponsibly and seek to avoid obligations to the community, we need a massive program of Council House building like the one our Labour council are doing here in Cambridge. But we need direct government investment in these, not just putting this wholly on councils. We need sites with 100% council housing and growth that delivers for the needs of Cambridge and our community, not for London commuters to have a bolt hole.”
He added,
“People in Cambridge are spending sometimes as much as 40% of their income on rents. In the long term we need these to be lowered and for the City Council to get the powers of rent control. We will continue to fight for genuinely affordable housing for all and build on the work the council has done during lockdown of ensuring the homeless were given accommodation.”
Daniel Zeichner Labour MP for Cambridge also supported the campaign, as has the Labour Party nationally.
He said,
“We have a health crisis, a jobs crisis, an education crisis and an environmental crisis. Why on earth would the government want to add a homelessness crisis to that list? They have fair warning. With the furlough scheme coming to an end, it is clear we need emergency legislation to ensure no one will lose their home because of coronavirus. We need rapid changes to our broken housing system that will protect tenants, and an end to no-fault evictions. We also need a plan for those struggling with mortgage payments.”

Labour Executive Councillor for Housing on Cambridge City Council Richard Johnson added, 

“I am deeply concerned the Government have indicated they will not be extending the ban on evictions.

“Before the Government legislated for the ban, Labour’s city council took the proactive step in confirming eviction action would be suspended should a tenant be in direct or indirect financial hardship because of coronavirus.

“Even if the ban were to be lifted, our position will remain unchanged until further notice. No-one should be at risk of losing their home because of reasons beyond their control during this extremely challenging period.

“The country is in a deep recession, COVID-19 cases are beginning to rise again, and the furlough scheme is due to end in October. This is no time to pull the plug on protections for tenants. Robert Jenrick must extend the eviction ban now.

“However, if anyone renting does find themselves with an eviction notice, I would encourage them to get in touch with the council’s Housing Advice Team as they may be able to help.”

Info

For non-council tenants, the city council’s Housing Advice Service has a range of support options for those who are at risk of becoming homeless. The council have a statutory duty to help in many cases. Information can be found here: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/get-help-to-avoid-becoming-homeless 

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