Updated: Mar 23
John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, has joined a coalition of MPs, Unions, Academics and public figures in signing a letter calling for the government to suspend rents, cancel rent debt and protect renters from eviction.
The UK-wide shutdown has hit renters particularly hard. Polling from Opinium for the Guardian has shown that 6 in 10 renters have taken a financial hit because of the lockdown. Of these, 1 in 5 have had to chose between buying food and paying rent, 1 in 4 have had to voluntarily leave their accommodation because of the crisis.
Research by Remit Consulting suggests that many renters are behind on their payments. While currently, a temporary government ban has prevented tenants from being evicted, when this is lifted, those who haven’t been able to keep up with their rental payments risk being kicked out of their accommodation. Further, some renters face the choice between having to go to work in an unsafe environment (breaking social distancing guidelines) and not paying their rent.
In order to ensure these concerns are properly addressed, a coalition of MPs, Unions, Academics and public figures have signed a letter to demand the government suspend rent, cancel rent debt and continue the ban on evictions indefinitely: no one should lose their home whilst coping with COVID 19 and its aftermath.
Among the signatories is John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, who has long been a supporter of rights for renters. Other signatories include Sian Berry, co-leader of the Green Party, and Dr Danny Dorling from the University of Oxford.
You can see the full letter to the government on the London Renters Union website.