New restrictions, missing protections
During the national lockdown the government, along with essential service providers, recognised the financial strain the restrictions would have on people’s ability to pay bills and put a range of protections in place to account for this.
However, millions of people in England now face new restrictions on the way they live and work but do not have equivalent protections from the financial hardships that come with them.
People in tier 2 and 3 areas are not sufficiently protected from the enforcement action that follows missing bills and aren’t receiving the support they need to help pay them back.
Particularly concerning is the lack of support for people behind on their rent and council tax bills.
Citizens Advice is calling for the government to introduce:
For people struggling to pay their council tax
A pause on enforcement of council tax arrears in tier 3 areas.
Further hardship funding for councils to help people with council tax arrears.
For people struggling to pay their rent
People in tier 2 and 3 areas who are facing eviction should be given at least 1 month’s notice when local restrictions come to an end before they are made to leave their home.
A national programme of government-backed grants and loans for tenants struggling to pay their rent because of the pandemic.