Former Labour Baroness Alicia Kennedy, the new director of the campaign group Generation Rent, claims 500,000 renters are in arrears as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
She says: “While support for jobs is welcome, people are struggling to put food on the table now and face the threat of losing their home when the eviction ban is lifted next month. They can’t eat out to help out: renters need a pay out to eat in.”
She goes on to say that Sunak’s stamp duty holiday - exempting properties selling for £500,000 or less from SDLT until the end of next March - does not help renters whose incomes and savings have been destroyed by the pandemic and face a further setback to their hopes of buying a home.
“Right now the government is leaving renters to bear the cost of the pandemic - we need Rishi Sunak to increase local housing allowance, remove the restrictions stopping people from accessing it, and end the rent debt crisis before it causes mass homelessness” she adds in a statement.
Kennedy welcomes the £2 billion Green Homes Grant confirmed yesterday, which she says “could make a huge difference to the quarter of private rentals that are non-decent”.
But she says the government must make it easier for the tenants themselves to request energy efficiency improvements to their homes.
“Because enforcement of standards is so patchy, landlords don’t have much incentive to insulate their homes, so renters need the right support to make the most of this scheme and pay less for their heating” she claims.
Meanwhile another campaigning charity, Shelter, took to Twitter to describe the changes to stamp duty as “just a distraction” when the country requires investment in social housing.