By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Suspend all rents now, says union- and council-funded think tank

A foundation which receives substantial funding from trade unions and a charity linked to the Nationwide is calling for rents to be completely suspended during the virus crisis.

The New Economics Foundation is a think-tank and in a contribution to The Guardian its head of housing and land, Joe Beswick, says private renters are “fearing for the future” because the moratorium on evictions has not yet been extended beyond June.

Berwick writes that “the most efficient and effective method to prevent looming evictions in a fair way is to temporarily suspend rents.” 


He continues: “These measures should be matched by a genuine mortgage freeze (that prevents interest from accruing), alongside income protection for those landlords who might otherwise fall below a basic standard of living, and low-interest loans to mortgage providers from the Bank of England to maintain liquidity in financial markets. This package would prevent renters racking up arrears during the nadir of the jobs crisis, while also supporting landlords and banks in a cost-effective way.”

The New Economics Foundation lists its funders on its website, and one of the largest - £95,648 - is the Nationwide Foundation, set up in 1997 and receiving donations from the Nationwide. 

The NEF also receives £56,000 from the TUC, Communication Workers Union and UNISON combined. It also receives £116,211 from the Greater London Assembly.

Beswick says recent Labour Party proposals - calling for, amongst other things, tenants being given two years to pay off arrears run up during the virus crisis - may not be enough. 

He claims such a move “involves plunging tenants into debt to protect landlords’ income streams”.

Instead he writes in The Guardian: “If we are to protect renters, we need to solve the problem of rent.”

The NEF wants the temporary suspension of all private rents and “the policy should be unwound gradually, alongside restrictions on rent increases (to prevent excessive clawback from landlords) and increased housing benefit.”

  • icon
    • 15 May 2020 08:00 AM

    I must assume that this article is a hangover from April 1st?????

  • icon

    utter f....ing madness. Shall we concurrently make all food shops stop charging, free electricity and gas for all and no council tax either.. happy days (not)

    • 15 May 2020 09:47 AM

    Don't forget free holidays from travel agents and new cars from BMW and Mercedes, and of course free houses from the government so they never have to even rent one.

    Makes total sense for me. Let's hope they can get the law approved by Monday.

  • icon

    In the words of Terry Wogan "They're not all locked up yet"

  • icon

    No but they should be !!
    Guess we should petition for their donations to be stopped for the duration too - and only gradually phased back over the same two years!

  • icon

    Any landlord banking with Nationwide is essentially a turkey voting for Christmas. Nationwide also donated their advertising slots to that well-known friend of landlords and agents, Shelter!


    My god!!! The crazy’s always come out in a crisis!!! And as for Nation wide I’ll be changing that at rate renewal

  • Mia M

    So, is there going to be a setvice charge freeze? Ground rent? Insurance? How about money given to people that actually live off the rental, like retired people whose sole income is from renting out a property? What utter nonesense! Do these people even think before they come up with these things?

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    I find it strange that its only a small proportion of Private renters that are calling for 'Free' accommodation - Rent.
    Nobody else in society, is calling for anything to be 'Free' of charge, if you think of it, its fairyland nonsense and not how an economy could survive. I see even Thangam Debonairre has had to explain that to Momentum. !

    On the 'New Economics Foundation' (sic) and their Funding by Nationwide, I've said it before, - Landlords who have mortgages with a company like Nationwide who divert some of its profits from landlord mortgage payments, - to a tenant support group - need to SWITCH mortgage companies.
    Its like the Council giving a portion of your council Tax precept for Policing to Terrorism !

    Barry X

    Strongly agree with FP..... we should be organising ourselves into the large scale force to be reckoned with that we easily could be (if a few more people had any gumption and a bit more backbone).

    There are LOTS of things we could do. PF's suggestion is a good one but only one of so many!

    Targeting organisations like Nationwide and making it clear (and also making it happen) that they will receive NO new BTL applications until they improve their thinking and completely change their policies.... and also tell them (and make happen) MANY of their mortgagees WILL move to other more landlord friendly lenders when their fix terms periods (or whatever) end.

    Remortgaging is easy and for BTLs (I've done loads over the years, even though we also have a corp. facility). It usually costs the same in fees (or less) than sticking with the same lender and going into one of their better (so never fee free) fixed term deals for another year or two or three or whatever.

  • icon
    • D B
    • 15 May 2020 09:04 AM

    I agree @ John Werrett. It is absolutely ridiculous to propose this. I have landlords who do not have lenders but are retired, and the rent they receive forms part of their 'pension' income, which they need to live on. These are not wealthy massive investor landlords who may have lenders who may freeze payments. These are individuals who have worked hard to buy their one little investment. Letting agents will have no income not collecting rents. They too have worked hard to achieve what they have, especially the little independents. Do they just close up shop now. They were given a fee reduction by Rightmove, the biggest and most expensive online portal. But that is due to end now with their cheapest package returning to just shy of £900 a month. The whole concept is stupid, unless the 'rent freeze' means that the Gov covers their full rental payments it will lead to even more problems in the industry, and an exodus of landlords.

  • sue diffey

    Who then is going to pay my buy to let mortgages, I used the equity in the family home and a divorce settlement as part of the finance to have a rental income, I have worked since I was 15 I provide accommodation which is in good areas, keep the houses in good repair and make very little profit after the tax changes and now I am supposed to provide free accommodation, don't think so, tenants will be served notice and I shall take back my equity and I think the majority of landlords will do the same.


    Trouble is Sue with an eviction freeze I doubt we are even aloud to sell our own property!

  • Paul Singleton

    “If we are to protect renters, we need to solve the problem of rent.” Well “If we are to protect homeowners, we need to solve the problem of mortgages”. Where do these people get their ideas from? Renters are no different to homeowners, we all have commitments!

    Barry X

    From the Guardian: “If we are to protect renters, we need to solve the problem of rent.”

    Does "solving" the "problem" of rent mean making it free so only we, the constantly under attack an never defending ourselves landlords, are the only ones who need suffer?

    There's plenty of evidence, including in another article here today (Build To Rent giant (Grainger) bucks virus with big rise in rental income) that there is NO "crisis" for Tenants at all - perhaps a few are struggling but that's normal. The others asking for rent reduction or periods of no rent at all "to help them in these difficult times" are simply taking the mick and exploiting the excuse given to them by geniuses (not) like Bozo and his mates at Shelter etc.

  • icon

    And when they get a CCJ for non payment of rent - no private landlord will ever take them on again. And they wont get a loan for their mobile phones and smart tvs.


    No doubt that will be struck from their records under the scheme too.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    You should see some of the offensive comments from Rogue tenants on a facebook post ( and video ) where I contrast the Residential versus Commercial restrictions and advocate that PRS evictions should follow Commercial which IS allowed for Non-Covid related
    Look at them on our facebook page and feel free to dive in with some support, as a number of landlords have.

    Barry X

    There are a lot of rabid fools with no intellect or knowledge... all they have are ideological slogans they've learned and a lot of rage and anger to try and prevent open dialogue and proper debate.

    Sadly its become the norm for ALL left-wingers and left-wing politics. Even more sadly it works which is why these nasty idiots have won so much ground (totally unreasonably and unfairly) and are taken so seriously by most people on our little planet (that vast numbers of these usually completely ignorant -as well as rabid - fools have deluded themselves into thinking they are "saving".... but that's another huge topic and sad story in itself).

  • Paul Schulte

    We all know the people who are directly behind this campaign, they come from middle class households, usually private schools with a range of out of school activities that most of us could only dream of. Then they go off to university, and discover their new “god” or in their case Trotskyism.
    In order to convert people, like any cult, these people have to create points of conflict. There are millions of renters in this country, many who are worried and stressed, so you launch a campaign, if it fails you blame the capitalist system, if the government offer concessions you claim victory and grow the cult.
    What you shouldn’t do is give these groups the oxygen of publicity. Without this they simply fade away.

  • icon

    Moving forward, there should also be free cars for anyone without one. They should call their local dealership and advise them of the preferred colour asap to allow them to put theses on order. Anyone not wishing a car, will be offered a £15,000 cash alternative. “..sound crazy, well Joe Beswick started it”!

  • Alistair Oswin

    Why has this article even been published!

  • Barry X

    Makes a refreshing change to see that usually prolific "Mad Mark" - as I call him - hasn't chipped in his halfpenny-worth of foolish nonsense of landlord bashing and baiting :-)


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up