The government is being urged to do more to support renters who may struggle to pay their rent during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the Budget last week, chancellor Rishi Sunak laid out a £12bn package of emergency measures to support businesses and workers through the crisis but it included no help for private renters who make up almost a fifth of the British population.
Prem Sikka, a professor of accounting at the University of Sheffield, told the press that the government had provided “basically nothing” in the Budget to help the less well-off who may struggle financially because of coronavirus.
“They said they would refund businesses for statutory sick pay of £94.25 a week for 14 days,” Professor Sikka said. “That’s not going to even cover the rent on its own.
“A lot of families are in private rented accommodation. It is often overcrowded, they will find it impossible to self-isolate.”
“For council tenants there is an easy solution which is the government pays money for rent over to the council.
“For private renters it’s more difficult – you have a whole variety of tenants from poor to posh. Help needs to be targeted at the poorer end.”
Professor Sikka would like to see the government identify people who may require help in the near future by using data it already has on who is claiming in-work benefits.
“The government needs to take charge and say, ‘We’ve asked you to isolate so we will help you,’” he added.
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