The UK government’s response to Corona Virus has been slow and ineffective. A pandemic on a global scale requires an evidence based response and precautions to be put in place immediately which will protect the most vulnerable in our population both in the immediate, and when consequences are inevitably still unfolding months down the line.
The government has announced that anybody with a new and continuous cough and/or a high temperature should self-isolate for 14 days, but there has been no increase in Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or a freeze on rent payments. We are already seeing examples of landlords harassing tenants or asking them to pay April’s rent early - something the majority of people are in no position to do. The UK’s SSP is the lowest in Europe at £94.25 a week, which would barely cover your rent.
It is clear that the health and wellbeing of the most precarious workers and tenants is not the top priority of the government. Quality of housing in both the private and social rented sector is notoriously bad, with mould and damp affecting millions of people all over the country in homes they share with many other people. Enforcing a working from home policy for people’s health when their home also makes tenants unwell is counterproductive - homes should be fit to live in.