MPs warn of 'new wave of homelessness' when eviction ban ends this week

A “new wave of homelessness” could sweep England when a ban on evictions ends this month, MPs have warned.

The temporary extra security for tenants was introduced in March to protect people hit by the pandemic, but the government has declined to extend it despite a coming recession.

Now a group of 21 MPs says the the UK government should guarantee funding for local authorities to house anyone forced to sleep rough.

The ban had originally been set to end in England on 25 June but it was extended to 23 August – this Sunday.

The Scottish government says it might extend its similar ban to March 2021, while the Welsh government has doubled the notice period required for evictions to six months, with some conditions.

In a letter, first reported by the BBC, the MPs wrote to rough sleeping minister Luke Hall: “Some local authorities are in the process of confirming and funding accommodation for rough sleepers for another year, however it is so important that all councils are able to provide this.

“We cannot put a cut-off on showing all those in need compassion at this time,” the letter said.

The letter was signed by 10 Liberal Democrat MPs, including the party’s two leadership candidates Layla Moran and Ed Davey. It was also signed by nine Labour MPs and one DUP MP.

The number of people sleeping rough in the UK already doubled between 2012 and 2017.

A Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government spokesperson said the government had taken “unprecedented action to support the most vulnerable people in our society during the pandemic”.

They added: “Nearly 15,000 rough sleepers have been housed in emergency accommodation since the beginning of the pandemic. We’ve also ensured no tenants have been evicted at the height of Covid.”

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