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Jeremy Corbyn calls for rent suspension amid coronavirus crisis

It comes as the Government announced a three-month mortgage holiday for struggling homeowners.

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Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn (Hollie Adams/PA)

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn (Hollie Adams/PA)

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn (Hollie Adams/PA)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on the Government to suspend home rental fees during the coronavirus crisis.

Opposition MPs urged the Government to support renters after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced homeowners would be offered a three-month mortgage holiday.

Under the arrangement, mortgage lenders have agreed to support customers who are in financial difficulties due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Coronavirus
Chancellor Rishi Sunak with Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Matt Dunham/PA Wire)

The measure, which was announced on Tuesday, means eligible customers will not have to pay their mortgage for a three-month period.

In response, Mr Corbyn tweeted: “The Government has announced a mortgage holiday for homeowners but it must suspend rents too.

“Millions of people rent in the UK. Suspend rents. Ban evictions. Now.”

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell later raised the issue in the Commons, and Mr Sunak said measures would be announced in the “coming days” to help protect renters.

The Chancellor said: “The biggest fixed costs that many families face will be their rent payment and it is right that we have regard to that.

“What I can tell him (Mr McDonnell) is that the Housing Secretary (Robert Jenrick) will in the comings days be making a statement with further measures to protect renters through these difficult times.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Tenants Union UK, which provides assistance to people who rent properties, said the lack of support for renters was “disappointing”.

“Obviously the Government has said this is the start and that they will announce more [support] in the coming days, but I don’t understand why they couldn’t announce it all in one go and give that sense of security to those who are really worrying,” the spokesperson added.

Labour leadership contender Sir Keir Starmer said on Twitter that the Chancellor’s measures “do not go far enough”.

The Holborn and St Pancras MP said: “There is no support for millions of renters, no new money for social care or the elderly, there is no clarity on employment support and no new money for already stretched public services. ”

Rival leadership candidate Lisa Nandy also questioned where the “protection” was for people in the rental market.

The proposed mortgage holiday is one of several measures to be introduced by the Government to help people through the  coronavirus crisis.

The measures include £330 billion of Government-backed loans which will be made available to support businesses.

In a statement, Mr Sunak said: “We will do whatever it takes to protect our people and businesses from the effects of this global economic emergency brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The interventions I am setting out today will help support businesses of all sizes – so they can continue operating during these unprecedented times.”

PA