MEMBERS of a community union have hit out at the government’s decision to extend the ban on evictions for another four weeks, saying it won’t solve the problems facing tenants.

Hector Steenbergen from Acorn Swindon said the announcement last Friday is just “kicking the can down the road” and called for greater protection for renters.

Members of Acorn gathered in Regent Circus last Saturday as part of a national day of action to draw attention to the problems that lifting the ban will cause for tenants.

Hector said: “Any extension to the eviction ban is welcome, but the reality is it is just kicking the can a bit further down the road.

“We would like the government to cancel rent arrears like they gave people mortgage holidays. The problem isn’t going away no matter how far you extend the eviction ban.

“We need something more concrete than just postponing the inevitable, because it’s only a month and nothing is going to change in that time,” said the communications officer for the union.

The government announced renters affected by coronavirus will continue to be protected, with the ban on evictions now lasting until September 20.

A new six-month notice period has also been introduced until March 31 2021, except in cases involving other serious issues such as anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse perpetrators.

“There isn’t going to be a tsunami of people made homeless come the end of September because of the six-month notice period,” said Hector. “But there will be certain areas of the town more affected than others.

“Because of what’s happened with the pandemic everyone is in quite dire financial straits. It’s difficult to foresee the extent but we are expecting an awful lot of people to be made homeless as a result

“You’ll end up with a lot of people living under very stressful conditions, not having a permanent place to call home for that whole period,” Hector said.

Acorn, which boast 36 members in Swindon, is a national organisation which seeks to use strength in numbers to draw attention to issues and help members stand up to abusive landlords.

“Most of our members are worried about keeping their homes,” said Hector.

“All the people who lost their jobs and are in rent arrears because of the pandemic are still in the same situation, and because of the economic situation coming out of the virus, it is not looking as if people are going to be getting jobs back anytime soon. This isn’t solving any of the problems, it’s prolonging a bad situation,” he added.