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HOUSING campaigners have criticised the government for giving businesses 18 months’ more protection than private renters, saying it highlights a stark difference in treatment.
Ministers announced this week that commercial properties will be protected from eviction until March 22.
It follows the lifting of a ban on bailiff-enforced evictions of private renteres earlier this month, in the face of warnings from housing charities and local authorities that this would lead to a “wave of homelessness.”
Responding to Thursday’s announcement, Generation Rent director Alicia Kennedy said: “The difference in the government’s treatment of businesses and private renters who have been hit by the pandemic could not be starker.
“At the G7 Boris Johnson warned against entrenching inequalities during the recovery, yet at every turn the government has taken decisions that hurt renters, from freezing local housing allowance while rents continue rising, to inflating house prices with the stamp duty holiday.
“Now a business’s pandemic debts are treated as exceptional, yet the same protection is not extended to people’s homes.”
Ms Kennedy called for the government to clear private renters’ arrears by opening a Covid Rent Debt Fund.
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