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CAB News 15 January 2021

Friday 15 January 2021

There’s been more national and regional coverage of our reaction to the extension of the ban on bailiff enforced evictions.

National

Advice

How to cope with the… Covid cliff edge

Metro, 13/01/2021, Rosie Murray-west

The Metro has used our framing of the end of covid protections as a “cliff edge” – a phrase we coined in our messaging during the first lockdown – in a report looking at how people’s finances are being stretched by the ongoing crisis.

The feature covered several areas in which people are struggling with their finances. Alistair Cromwell was quoted on the difficulties facing renters:

“Unlike people who own their homes, private tenants have had no structured way to defer payments but instead have had to try to keep up with their rent and bills as best they can in a time of great uncertainty and hardship,” said Alistair.

Housing

Evictions ban extended but concerns remain

FT Advisor, 11/01/2021, Chloe Cheung

The ban on bailiff-enforced evictions has been extended for at least six weeks in England to help protect renters from the effects of the pandemic.

Alistair Cromwell’s said: “The government has made the right decision to extend this protection. Renters who are struggling with arrears shouldn’t face the prospect of losing the roof over their head when everyone is being asked to stay at home.”

But he added that hundreds of thousands of people were still in arrears that would “continue to hang over them”, recommending the government implement targeted financial support for tenants in England who have fallen behind on their rent.

Alistair’s statement was carried by several national papers in the days following last Friday’s announcement of the extension, and also appears on a number of landlord focused websites. The full response is on our website.

And in the South West Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Cornwall, Gill Pipkin, was interviewed on the regional evening news programme about the issue.

Eviction bans in England and Wales are extended

BBC News Online, 09/01/2021, Kevin Peachey

Eviction bans in England and Wales have been extended, following a similar move in Scotland on Thursday.

The move will mean eviction notices – which could have started again this Monday – will not be served for six weeks in England and longer in Wales.

The story on BBC Online used our latest research showing half a million private tenants in the UK are behind with their rent, and that for many this is a new problem: 58% were not in arrears last February, before the pandemic hit people’s jobs and finances. Those who had fallen behind on rent owed at average of £730.

Our case study, Jacob, was also featured: “I’ve no idea what might happen, and that’s the scary thing. Every day I’m waiting for a letter to say that he [the landlord] wants to sell the place, or change the tenancy or something like that,” he said.

Alistair Cromwell’s statement was used by the Independent in its coverage of the story. He said: “The government has made the right decision to extend this protection. Renters who are struggling with arrears shouldn’t face the prospect of losing the roof over their head when everyone is being asked to stay at home.

“However, there are still hundreds of thousands of people in arrears and this debt will continue to hang over them. The government should put in place targeted financial support for tenants in England who’ve fallen behind on their rent.”

Just days earlier the Financial Times, among other national papers, had written about our call for the eviction ban to be extended.

Regional

Advice

Calls to Citizens Advice Bolton “nearly doubled” after latest lockdown announcement

BBC Radio Manchester 07/01/2021, from (1hr 14 into clip)The Bolton News, 11/01/2021, Daniel Hopkins

The team at Citizens Advice Bury and Bolton has been inundated with calls from people needing legal advice and assistance, especially regarding work and childcare, since the new lockdown was announced.

Chief Officer, Richard Wilkinson, talked about these issues on BBC Radio Manchester and in the local paper. He said: “On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, our calls had basically doubled and it was very clearly on the back of the press briefing. Many people were in a state of panic.

Richard cited one woman who rang and had suddenly found herself without childcare on Tuesday as her five year old child’s school was closed.

Her boss at the care home where she worked demanded that she go in to work or risk being fired. The boss said that their firm “didn’t use the furlough scheme” and needed her in work.

She was told that she would have a very strong employment tribunal case if her boss took any action and Mr Wilkinson said that she had managed to change her hours.