One in four renters cannot keep their home warm, says Shelter

A quarter (26%) of adult renters in England say they cannot keep their homes warm in Winter, Shelter research has found.

The charity raised concerns that things could worsen this year, owing to rising fuel costs, cuts to universal credit as well as the end of the furlough scheme from the start of next month.

Over a third (36%) of private renters in England receive housing benefit to pay their rent, up from 25% before the pandemic.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “The triple whammy of the furlough scheme ending, cuts to Universal Credit and rocketing fuel prices may be the final straw for many renters barely hanging on to their homes. We are facing a perfect storm for homelessness to rise, and the new Housing Secretary must get a handle on the situation before winter arrives.

“Our research shows that one in four renters couldn’t keep their homes warm in winter, even before this latest price hike. No parent should have to choose between putting the heating on, food on the table or paying their rent – but that is the reality for so many families right now. And our helpline is already inundated with calls from people who are terrified of being evicted.

“Renters urgently need a lifeline. The government must reverse its decision to cut Universal Credit and provide emergency grants to renters with Covid-arrears to pay off their debts. Otherwise, homelessness will regrettably rise.”

The furlough scheme is due to end on September 30, while the government plans to cut the £20 a week boost to Universal Credit on October 6 that was introduced during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, millions of households are facing a spike in their energy bills due to rising wholesale prices and a supply shortage.

Shelter is urging the government to take action to protect struggling renters against the imminent threat of eviction and homelessness caused by the current situation.

It called for the government to reverse the decision to cut Universal Credit and provide a package of emergency financial aid for renters with crippling Covid-arrears.

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