News: Taxpayers should pay Covid tenant rent arrears, say councils

Tue, 25 May 21

The umbrella group representing London councils wants the government to use taxpayer money to help private tenants with Covid-related arrears.

The call comes in a wide ranging set of demands made by the group - known as London Councils - ahead of next weekend’s eventual end to the current eviction ban.

The group says there’s a “triple whammy” of upcoming risks. These are firstly high unemployment and rent arrears, secondly the end of the eviction ban on May 31, and finally uncertainty over homelessness funding.

A spokesperson for the group says: “Even though the Covid-19 situation is gradually improving, there’s a very real risk of London’s homelessness crisis getting even worse.

“In the coming months we can expect a triple whammy of continuing job losses in the capital, the imminent lifting of the evictions ban, and uncertainty over future funding levels for local homelessness services.

“Boroughs are doing everything we can to tackle homelessness in the capital, but ultimately we need the government to rethink its welfare policies and to boost long-term funding for local services if we’re to reverse these disastrous trends.”

The London Councils group also wants the government to end the five-week wait for Universal Credit payments to begin; make sure Local Housing Allowance continues to match the cost of renting in London; and give councils more cash for social housing.

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