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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:26 pm on 23rd September 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Uddin Baroness Uddin Non-affiliated 2:26 pm, 23rd September 2020

My Lords, it is incumbent upon a civilised society not to ignore the dreadful impact of the inevitable consequences of these proposed evictions. I add my support to the noble Baroness, Lady Grender, and my noble friend Lord Ponsonby, with whom I am in total agreement in what they have said before the House.

While I accept that landlords must be protected from any intentional or criminal negligence caused by a small number of tenants, that problem is nowhere near the punitive impact of these measures on the majority of vulnerable families, with inevitable consequences that will place the burden on a local authority that is already well stretched. Measures to protect tenants must be in the forefront of our strategies and actions. The Government must consider writing off the debts of those who cannot afford to meet their financial obligations as a result of Covid-related job losses and not having access to other government support.

We have so many experts on housing solutions in this very House—the noble Lords, Lord Bird, Lord Kennedy of Southwark, Lord Young and Lord Kerslake—as well as the advice of Shelter and other notable NGOs. In addition to stopping the section 21 eviction notice, will the Government consider bringing together an expert group of Members and external advisers, alongside Ministers and civil servants, to consider how to create urgent housing solutions to meet the needs of homeless families, and particularly to avoid overcrowding and prevent the dangerous explosion of Covid-19?