Labour mayors and council leaders call for urgent extension of evictions ban

Elliot Chappell

Labour metro mayors, the mayor of London and leaders of local councils across the country have called on the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to urgently extend the evictions ban.

In a letter sent to Robert Jenrick this afternoon, over 70 Labour figures have highlighted that the government pledged: “No renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home.”

The intervention, from the representatives of millions of people across England, comes ahead of the evictions ban coming to an end on Sunday – after which point court proceedings to evict tenants can begin to be processed.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has warned: “Unless the government extends the ban on evictions, provides more support for tenants and follows through on its promise to scrap no-fault evictions, tens of thousands of people risk losing their homes.”

The government introduced legislation in March that stopped landlords from taking court proceedings to evict people during Covid. The initial rule change was intended to last for three months but the government extended it to August 23rd.

Commenting on the call from the local Labour leaders and the end of the protection for renters, Shadow Housing Secretary Thangam Debbonaire said: “The situation couldn’t be more urgent.

“The government has three days to avoid a cliff edge, with thousands of people at risk of eviction and homelessness. The government can still change course. They must extend the ban, and come out with a credible plan to protect renters during this crisis.”

Debbonaire called for the extension of the ban earlier this week, after data from housing charity Shelter showed that nearly a quarter of a million people are at risk of eviction because of Covid economic impact.

Former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell demanded on Monday that the government extend the suspension by at least another year, and called for rent arrears to be cancelled to prevent a “torrent of people” becoming homeless.

A cross-party group of MPs also wrote to the government, warning that failure to keep the protection in place would result in a “new wave of homelessness”. It was signed by nine Labour MPs, one DUP MP and ten Lib Dems.

While the ban is set to end in England and Wales next week, the Scottish government announced last week that the evictions ban in Scotland – which was due to end in September – will now run until March 2021.

Below is the full text of the letter sent to Robert Jenrick this afternoon.

Dear Robert Jenrick,

We are writing as the elected representatives of millions of people across England to press the urgent need for an extension to the ban on evictions, which is due to end on Sunday 23rd August. We welcomed the government’s decision to introduce the ban and to extend it. However, you have not used this time to prepare for what comes next.

In March, you promised “no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.” However, you have so far not introduced the legislative changes and support for tenants that would make this a reality.

Before Covid, two thirds of private renting households, and eight in ten social rented households had no savings. In short, people renting their homes have little resilience to the shock of the Covid-19 crisis.

On top of this, renters are likely to be hardest hit. Compared to homeowners, renters are more likely to have seen their work status change significantly and income fall, according to research from Citizens Advice. Unfortunately, the government has done little to prevent people from falling into debt arrears during this crisis.

Shelter now estimates that nearly a quarter of a million people are at risk of eviction because of Covid economic impact. Already, while the ban is in place, an estimated 20,000 people have been made homeless during the pandemic. Once the ban is lifted, under current law, anyone with two month’s arrears can be automatically evicted through the courts.

As with the A Level, BTEC and GCSE results fiasco, the government has had several months’ notice of a growing crisis affecting thousands of people. We have long been warning that current policies will lead to a wave of evictions and homelessness this winter, potentially coinciding with a rise in COVID-19 infections. But this crisis is avoidable if you act quickly and decisively.

Together, as the elected representatives of millions of people across England, we are calling on you to urgently extend the ban on evictions, and make good on your promise, that no-one lose their home as a result of Covid.

We look forward to your response. We will work with the government constructively to support everyone affected by this situation.

Yours sincerely,

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool City Region
Jamie Driscoll, Mayor of North of Tyne
Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of the Council, Barking & Dagenham
Councillor Ann Thomson, Leader of the Council, Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council
Councillor Gavin Callaghan, Leader of the Council, Basildon Borough Council
Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of the Council, Birmingham City Council
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of the Council, Bradford Metropolitan District Council
Mayor Marvin Rees, Executive Mayor, Bristol City Council
Councillor Timothy Swift, Leader of the Council, Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council
Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of the Council, Camden Council
Councillor Sam Corcoran, Leader of the Council, Cheshire East Council
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of the Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council
Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of the Council, Chesterfield Borough Council
Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of the Council, Chorley District Council
Councillor Tom Beattie, Leader of the Council, Corby Borough Council
Councillor George Duggins, Leader of the Council, Coventry City Council
Councillor Tony Newman, Leader of the Council, Croydon Council
Councillor Simon Henig, Leader of the Council, Durham County Council
Councillor Julian Bell, Leader of the Council, Ealing Council
Councillor Martin Gannon, Leader of the Council, Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council
Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Council, Greenwich Council
Mayor Philip Glanville, Executive Mayor, Hackney Council
Councillor Mark Ingall, Leader of the Council, Harlow Council
Councillor Graham Henson, Leader of the Council, Harrow Council
Councillor Anthony McKeown, Leader of the Council, High Peak
Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of the Council, Hounslow Council
Councillor David Ellesmere, Leader of the Council, Ipswich Borough Council
Councillor Richard Watts, Leader of the Council, Islington Council
Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of the Council, Kirklees Council
Councillor Jack Hopkins, Leader of the Council, Lambeth Council
Councillor Erica Lewis, Leader of the Council, Lancaster City Council
Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of the Council, Leeds City Council
Mayor Damien Egan, Executive Mayor, Lewisham Council
Councillor Richard Metcalfe, Leader of the Council, Lincoln Council
Mayor Joe Anderson, Executive Mayor, Liverpool City Council
Councillor Hazel Simmons, Leader of the Council, Luton Borough Council
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of the Council, Manchester City Council
Councillor Peter Marland, Leader of the Council, Milton Keynes Council
Councillor Nick Forbes, Leader of the Council, Newcastle Upon Tyne Council
Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, Executive Mayor, Newham Council
Councillor Sean Fielding, Leader of the Council, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council
Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of the Council, Oxford City Council
Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, Leader of the Council, Pendle Borough Council
Councillor Tudor Evans, Leader of the Council, Plymouth City Council
Councillor Matthew Brown, Leader of the Council, Preston City Council
Councillor Jason Brock, Leader of the Council, Reading Borough Council
Councillor Allen Brett, Leader of the Council, Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council
Councillor Steve Siddons, Leader of the Council, Scarborough Borough Council
Councillor Ian Maher, Leader of the Council, Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council
Councillor Julie Dore, Leader of the Council, Sheffield City Council
Councillor James Swindlehurst, Leader of the Council, Slough Borough Council
Councillor Paul Foster, Leader of the Council, South Ribble Borough Council
Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of the Council, South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council
Councillor Chris Hammond, Leader of the Council, Southampton City Council
Councillor Ian Gilbert, Leader of the Council, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
Councillor Peter John, Leader of the Council, Southwark Council
Councillor David Baines, Leader of the Council, St Helens Council
Councillor Sharon Taylor, Leader of the Council, Stevenage District Council
Councillor Bob Cook, Leader of the Council, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of the Council, Sunderland City Council
Councillor Roger Truelove, Leader of the Council, Swale Borough Council
Councillor Brenda Warrington, Leader of the Council, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
Councillor Shaun Davies, Leader of the Council, Telford & Wrekin Council
Councillor Rick Everitt, Leader of the Council, Thanet District Council
Mayor John Biggs, Executive Mayor, Tower Hamlets Borough Council
Councillor Denise Jeffrey, Leader of the Council, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council
Councillor Clare Coghill, Leader of the Council, Waltham Forest
Councillor David Molyneux, Leader of the Council, Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council
Councillor Simon Greaves, Leader of the Council, Bassetlaw District Council
Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, Leader of the Council, Bury Metropolitan Borough Council
Mayor Norma Redfearn, Executive Mayor, North Tyneside Council
Councillor Elise Wilson, Leader of the Council, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
Councillor Doina Cornell, Leader of the Council, Stroud District Council
Councillor Russ Bowden, Leader of the Council, Warrington Borough Council

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