HOUSING groups have warned that the UK faces an acute rise in homelessness levels, as the Government's ban on evictions is lifted.

Concerns have been raised by the charity Shelter that as many as 250,000 people nationwide could be at increased risk of eviction as a result of the ban coming to an end.

Last month, the temporary ban on evictions was extended by four weeks, following indications from Number 10 that it was considering a last-minute change of stance.

The six-month-long ban is due to come to an end as of Monday.

Community leaders have warned urgent intervention is needed to ward off a 'perfect storm' scenario emerging, as the lifting of the ban coincides with the ending of Number 10 support schemes.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron said the Government was 'simply kicking the can down the road another four weeks' when it announced its eleventh-hour extension in August. He has pointed to the lack of further measures in the intervening period as 'proof' of its failure to protect renters.

Barrow Borough Council this week reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring an anticipated homelessness spike in Furness can be avoided.

Cllr Kevin Hamilton, the borough council's spokesperson for housing, said: "People across the country are now facing enormous financial pressure because of coronavirus.

"It has had a severe impact on people's lives in so many ways.

"While nationally it has been reported that homelessness levels will rise significantly after

the lifting of the ban on evictions, we are committed to working with partners to do all that we can to prevent an increase in homelessness within the borough."

Commenting yesterday, Polly Neate, Shelter's chief executive, said: “Coronavirus has compounded this country’s housing emergency.

"A chronic shortage of social homes means that millions of people live in insecure and expensive private rentals.

"Since the pandemic hit, more than 300,000 tenants have fallen behind on their rent, and many more are barely making ends meet. And with the country in recession, the situation is likely to get worse. 

“While short-term measures like the longer notice period are welcome, they won’t prevent everyone from losing their home.

"Renters who were served notice before 29 August will still face automatic eviction when the ban lifts in two days; for those with longer notices, it may just delay the inevitable.  

“To help renters keep hold of their homes, the government must provide emergency funds to help them clear their Covid arrears.

"But the ultimate fix for this country’s housing emergency is to invest in a new generation of social homes, to give everyone the chance of a secure home they can afford.”