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New call for grants and loans for tenants to clear Covid arrears

Citizens Advice says the government should prioritise tenants with rent arrears who are the most significant victims of the financial fallout of the pandemic. 

Specifically it wants a system of grants and government-backed loans in England - comparable to schemes in Scotland and Wales - “to help people pay back their rent arrears sustainably and stay in their homes.”

The charity claims one in seven people have fallen behind on essential bills such as rent because of Coronavirus.


A poll of 6,004 people, conducted by ICM Unlimited for the charity, also reveals 60 per cent of people with children under 18 report having already cut down on any regular or non-essential spending, to ensure their children don’t go without.

Citizens Advice’s research indicates the situation is particularly tough for certain groups. 

Black and ethnic minority groups, parents and carers, and people who were furloughed are all more likely to have fallen behind.

Specifically it says 28 per cent of this group - twice the UK average - are behind with rent or other essential bills.

In addition, 24 per cent of all people who were furloughed have fallen behind on essential bills or rent.

The survey also claims that 62 per cent of the wider population believe that those who’ve fallen into debt because of Coronavirus and lockdown restrictions should get help from the government to pay it back.

Acting chief executive Alistair Cromwell says: “We agree with the British public that people shouldn’t be left on their own to sink or swim. 

“It has become increasingly clear that, despite the government’s best efforts to protect incomes, a growing number of people have fallen into debt because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some groups, notably ethnic minorities, parents and carers, and those furloughed, are suffering more than most. 

“The government has taken strong action to try to protect people from the worst of the immediate economic shock. Now they need a clear plan to protect people from the damaging consequences of long-term debt, and help strengthen the economic recovery.“

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

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    How can 24% of furloughed tenants fall behind on payments. They didn’t have to travel to work pay petrol buy a sandwich. They didn’t go to rock festivals and they didn’t go on holiday didn’t they. In theory they had more money in their pocket than before CoronaVirus.

    Quick foolproof check on tenant ability to pay. See if they have full Sky Q package at £80 a month along with Netflix/Prime etc

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    If tenants are to be given loans & grants how can we ensure they actually use them to pay off the rent arrears? Some, I am sure, will use it to pay off other debt - such as doorstep loans for Christmas - as we all know it is pretty impossible to evict a non paying tent at present.

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    Loans paid to clear rent arrears are fine but NOT grants. I totally agree with Jahan's above post,

    Furlough has been ridiculously generous and caused resentment among the hard working population who have kept us fed and cared for us whilst others watch their sky channels and save money sitting at home. Furlough should have been on a loan basis only.

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    'Furlough .... has caused resentment amongst the hard working population'. Where is the evidence for this? Fact-check please. Furloughed tenants have 'in theory more money in their pockets than before'. Where is the evidence for this? Fact-check please. If people make such broad statements, they should always state their sources.


    Talk to some workers like I have. Many delivery drivers, self employed tradesmen, NHS employees etc. feel pretty hacked off seeingothers watching Sky while getting 80% of pay with reduced outlays.

    If normal outlays on fares, meals, work clothes etc, are around 15% or more then it's obvious that 80% of normal pay leaves most better off. Look at the evidence of how much credit card debt etc. has been paid off over lockdown.



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