Renters affected by COVID-19 will be protected, says Boris Johnson


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons on March 18, 2020. (Photo: Reuters TV via Reuters)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons on March 18, 2020. (Photo: Reuters TV via Reuters)

BORIS JOHNSON has announced that private renters affected by the coronavirus outbreak will be protected from eviction under an emergency law.

The prime minister’s promise came a day after Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a £350 billion “wartime” bailout for Britain’s businesses and workers.

Welcoming the measures announced, critics alleged that renters had been left in the lurch.

Sunak, who had announced a “three-month mortgage holiday” on Tuesday (17), noted that “the biggest fixed cost that many families face will be their rent payment, and it is right that we have regard to that”.

He assured that measures to “protect renters through these difficult times” would be announced in the coming days.

Johnson today (18) told an unusually silent House of Commons: “I can, indeed, confirm that we will be bringing forward legislation to protect private renters from eviction.

“That is one thing we will do, but it is also important as we legislate that we do not simply pass on the problem, so we’ll also be taking steps to protect other actors in the economy.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had earlier said there were 20 million private renters “worried sick” in the country, and urged the PM to protect them.

Speaking to Sky News this morning, Business Secretary Alok Sharma, too, said “more measures” and “some form of protection” would be announced to alleviate the “anxiety” faced by renters.

Sunak had announced loan funding worth £330 billion—about 15 per cent of the GDP—to buoy businesses, and a £20 billion package of tax cuts and grants.

“We have never in peacetime faced an economic fight like this one,” he said.

The chancellor also said he was in talks with union leaders and experts to ensure welfare of the country’s workforce.

“We’ve already taken steps to strengthen the safety net for the workers… we’re of course looking to do more in the employment support field,” he said.