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.“
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