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Private Rented Sector

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:00 pm on 17th March 2020.

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Photo of Tulip Siddiq Tulip Siddiq Labour, Hampstead and Kilburn 4:00 pm, 17th March 2020

This is why I felt that we should continue with this debate even though I know there are other things on our mind. With the virus, there is a big link to those who are renting. This is a time when we need to pull together and make demands of the Government to fix this problem, which has been ongoing for a long time but which requires particular urgency now in the light of the situation we are facing.

The impact of coronavirus on low-income private renters could be devastating. I know many renters are already contacting housing charities and renters’ organisations such as ACORN out of fear they will not be able to pay rent this month: those on zero-hours contracts are particularly worried. I am sure my hon. Friend’s constituents are emailing her constantly about that.

Statutory sick pay of £94.25 will not even come close to covering rent for most Londoners. Members from these constituencies in this room will know that their constituents are struggling to make ends meet, and they could face far bigger income reductions from the loss of a job or working hours. I hope the Government will listen to calls from Opposition Members and others to increase statutory sick pay and give more protection to low paid, insecure and self-employed workers from the effects of coronavirus.

Anyone who needs to self-isolate—I keep making the point—needs to be able to do so without fearing that they will lose their home or that they will not be able to feed their children or themselves. We have to make sure that anyone who has a cough or a fever feels that they can stay at home without fear of falling behind on their rent and suffering huge financial repercussions.