Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about support for sex workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
I believe that those involved in sex work should have access to information, help and support, and they should be treated fairly, positively and respectfully.
With reference to your concerns surrounding Universal Credit (UC), the social security system we had going into this crisis was a safety net with too many holes in it. We must consider how we can widen that net so that everyone who needs support gets it and the steps that will need to be taken as we move from response to recovery. More has to be done to ensure the benefit system is able to support low-income households struggling with the additional costs of lockdown, including food and energy. I believe the Government needs to commit to ending the five-week wait for UC.
On housing, I support the introduction of an emergency action plan to prevent people from being forced from their homes as a result of the ongoing situation with coronavirus, including measures such as: extending the temporary ban on evictions for six months or however long is needed; bringing forward the Government’s proposal to scrap Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions and outlaw evictions on the grounds of rent arrears if the arrears were accrued because of hardship caused by the coronavirus crisis; and speeding up and improving the provision of UC, and considering a temporary increase to the Local Housing Allowance to help prevent risk of homelessness.
It will take time for people to recover from this pandemic and they need all the support we can give them to prevent what would be an unprecedented and devastating spike in homelessness.
More generally, I believe the Government has been too slow responding to the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on our economy and people’s lives. The Covid-19 crisis is causing serious financial suffering for people. At this stage, with no clear end to the lockdown, we must urgently find ways to strengthen the safety net so our society can emerge from the crisis with the least damage possible.
The Government must take action immediately to prevent families and individuals from sliding further into hardship from which it will be extremely difficult to recover.