Housing activists are again building pressure on the government to not end the eviction ban on 20 September as planned, reports Shabbir Lakha
Protesters gathered in Parliament Square on Wednesday morning to sound the alarm over the upcoming end to the eviction ban.
The ban which was put in place during the lockdown has meant that landlords have been unable to file for possession proceedings to evict tenants. After an initial extension to August, it was then extended a second time to 20 September after public pressure and plans for nationwide protests.
The eviction ban has been the only government measure that has provided any support for tenants. But without a rent holiday or increase in Universal Credit or even Staturory sick pay, hundreds of thousands of people have fallen into rent arrears as a result of the pandemic.
A huge proportion of them have already been served eviction notices which means landlords can begin lodging court proceedings as soon as they're able to once the ban is over. This is a tsuanmi of evictions and homelessness in the making.
This is happening at the same time that property prices have continued to rise, in part because of the government's cut to stamp duty, and after the new "rule of six" restrictions are exempted for grouse hunting. At every step of the crisis, this government has shown its priorities are to protect the rich and their profits at the expense of everyone else.
That's why the protest on Wednesday was aimed at Prime Minister's Questions, and Boris Johnson received a massive boo as he drove past in his motorcade.
The very minimum that is needed is an extension of the eviction ban, and we have to fight for it. But we also must demand that it is accompanied by debt relief and rent holidays and caps for tenants or it will only be delaying the inevitable wave of evictions.
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Shabbir Lakha is a Stop the War officer, a People's Assembly activist and a member of Counterfire.
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