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To the Labour Party – On the Subject of Rent and COVID-19:
Across the United Kingdom, in every single one of your constituencies, there are private renters.
These private renters are key workers. They are workers for the NHS, for supermarkets, across all essential services. They are the workers that you wish to centre your post-pandemic economy around protecting.
They are economically precarious. Many face destitution, only shortly delayed by government initiatives, due to a loss of work, due to a reduction in work, and due in some cases to being furloughed, with a 20% pay drop.
The government strategies are either failing in the immediate term or are setting up failure further down the road. Deferrals do not confront the loss of income experienced by private renters, nor do delaying the eviction process. Universal credit is too slow moving and not even nearly enough to keep landlords from demanding rent.
Unfortunately private renters cannot with much confidence look to the Labour Party for comfort. While reforms to Universal Credit are welcomed, the Labour Party’s revised position of rent deferrals does not help us as workers. It simply pushes the problem down the road.
If a worker misses out on three months worth of income, and has to pay that back over 2 years, that is a 12% increase of rent that must be paid, in the worst recession in centuries. Your solutions simply are not good enough. You are failing renters.
We call on the Labour Party to pressure the government to:
1. Cancel, at the tenant’s request, payments of rent, for any tenant experiencing any drop in income.
2. Cover, at the tenant’s request, utility payments, for any tenant experiencing any drop in income.
3. Halt all eviction processes due to failure to produce rent until employment stabilises.
There are already plans initiated in America to do this. Consider the model proposed by Democratic Party representative, Ilhan Omar. (www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/17/ilhan-omar-rent-mortgage-bill-coronavirus-pandemic)
There are no excuses.
The government has bailed out hundreds of companies.
The government has bailed out banks.
It’s time for the people’s bailout. Cancel the rent.
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