Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 4) (Coronavirus) Rules 2020 - Motion for an humble Address

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:05 pm on 23rd September 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Greengross Baroness Greengross Crossbench 2:05 pm, 23rd September 2020

My Lords, earlier this year, research by Age UK found that there were 750,000 private renters over the age of 60 in the UK. Older renters are often forgotten, and many live in constant fear of being evicted. This happened even before the pandemic. Some 28% of those who have been shielding during the pandemic usually work; half of these people are over the age of 50. That is why I, along with a cross-party group of 46 other Members of this House, recently wrote to the Chancellor asking him to give those who need it most job security and a decent income while the risks of Covid remain high. As the coronavirus job retention scheme or furloughs come to an end, there is a risk that many of these people will end up in rent arrears and face eviction.

One in five people aged between 50 and 64 are carers, as research from the Centre for Ageing Better in August last year showed. Many of these carers are forced to reduce their working hours and their income to care for loved ones, as we know. ONS figures from April this year found that 17% of employed carers had to reduce their working hours during the pandemic, while Alzheimer’s Society figures from 2019 showed that 112,000 people have left employment to care for family members who have dementia. Dementia Carers Count found that 36% of family carers provide care in excess of 100 hours a week.

The broken social care system means that carers’ incomes have been reduced during the pandemic; they are at greater risk of falling into rent arrears and now could also face eviction. A 2018 survey conducted by Mind found that one in four people said that having an unstable tenancy had impacted negatively on their mental health. A 2017 study by the Association of Mental Health Providers found that people with mental health problems were more likely to be evicted for either financial reasons or disproportionate anti- social behaviour. The same study found that people who are evicted tend to have worse physical and mental health than the average person. Moreover, the process of eviction itself can have profound psychological consequences and is associated with increased suicide risk. Do the Government have any plans to help these varied—