Keir Starmer has already quietly ‘watered down’ Corbyn’s coronavirus response

Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn
Steve Topple

It’s come to light that new Labour leader Keir Starmer has already backtracked on one of Jeremy Corbyn’s key demands of the Tories during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. But blink and you would have missed it.

Corbyn: always on our side

In March, PoliticsHome reported Labour’s stance on private renting during the pandemic. Under Corbyn and John McDonnell, a report was put together. It called for:

Where necessary rent payments should be suspended for a three-month period to enable people to feed themselves and their loved ones, and to avoid driving people into destitution; at a time of widespread job losses and wage cuts of at least 20%, it is not unreasonable for landlords – many benefiting from a mortgage holiday – to prepare for small declines in their regular income.

In other words, private renters should get three months rent free from landlords. But fast-forward to Wednesday 22 April, and Starmer quietly trashed this.

Enter Keir ‘Trasher’ Starmer

As trainee housing law solicitor Tom Lavin wrote for Greater Manchester Housing Action, the new leader has ‘watered down’ this proposal. Lavin said:

On Wednesday, whilst Keir Starmer received near-unanimous congratulations from the professional pundit class for his ‘grown-up’ and ‘forensic’ debut performance at Prime Ministers Questions, the Labour Party quietly confirmed that they had watered-down their position on renter’s rights during the COVID-19 crisis.

He continued:

The policy has now changed from rent suspension to rent deferment i.e. Labour’s new policy is that renters should have to pay rent for their time spent occupying their homes during the crisis but not until a later date, with Starmer’s team calling upon the Government to “legislate for a further, manageable period for renters to pay back deferred rent”.

Whoops!

You can read Lavin’s full analysis here. LabourList editor Sienna Rodgers tweeted:

But hang on! Rodgers seems to be saying that Starmer’s new policy is actually the same as Corbyn’s, no? Except it isn’t. And Rodgers realised she had made a mistake, tweeting:

So, it seems that Starmer’s capitalist tendencies are already shining through.

For the few and screw the many

As Lavin noted, landlords with mortgages have the ability to defer certain payments until the end of their mortgage’s life. In other words, possibly in decades’ time. So Corbyn and McDonnell’s approach seemed fairly reasonable. But enter the distinctly ‘pro-business-and-screw-the-poor-people’ Starmer, and this has changed. As Lavin summed up:

It is extremely disheartening to see that the Labour party appear to have already capitulated and taken the decision that, rather than the billionaires or Landlords, renters should foot the bill for the crisis and be thankful we are allowed to do so over a ‘manageable period’.

So, it seems protecting the interests of those with more power than the rest of us may be a feature of this new Labour Party. Heaven help us all.

Featured image via the Telegraph – YouTube and i-D – YouTube 

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  • Show Comments
    1. Let’s not forget it was Corbyn’s failure that put Johnson in No.10. Here we are with the question of rent, deferred of written off? Not all landlords are filthy rich, I had many as clients who use that rent as their income. What do they do now?

      Now if you want to do something about corporate, how about a campaign to ensure that big business, you know the ones who pay big fat bonuses and big fat dividends, eg Carillion, be made to hold sufficient liquid capital to survive for six months? This would need legislation and a Tory one would not do that.

      Therefore instead of sitting there waiting for Starmer to renege on a Corbyn policy how about lobbying him to do something constructive as suggested above. With luck he will be PM soon and the workers will be able to breathe again.

      1. Corbyn’s failure or the actions of a faction of the party determined to undermine any chance we had of a socialist govt?

        Something as simple as a policy change that benefits the already rich and you can’t see the damage being done to the credibility of the leaderships socialist ideals?

        If Starmer is that proud of the change, why not publicise it better?

      2. Completely agree. Many landlords were encouraged to BTL by the last Labour Government to use as an income but more relevantly as a pension pot. It is irrational to expect one group not to pay rent whilst the other will still have to pay their mortgage/s, maintenance etc and cover a small income. The simplistic attitude that helps no-one is holding onto the fundamental idea that all property is theft and vilifying small landlords who are unlike many local authorities providing housing!

      1. More use than a failed Socialist experiment that the British public rejected. Twice. With the likes of Pidcock out completely, and the intellectual heavy weights like Burgon, Abbott and Corbyn relegated to the back benches, the Labour Party might just become credible opposition rather than a 6th form politics rabble.

    2. What a stitch up. Kier Starmer, with a ‘little help from his friends’ in MI5 and the Conservative media has just assumed the position. The position of leader of the reconsituted Tory Lite Party, once the domain of Tony B’Liar.

      Britian needs a real Labour Party. Corbyn needs to start a real Labour Party. If B’Liar cound rebrand the old, decrepit (Tory Lite) Labouyr Party as “New Labour”, Corbyn can brand an actual new party as “The Real Labour Party” and run with it.

      British working people need represenatation in Parliament. The Tories and Kier Starmer with Tory Lite 2.0 won’t do it so someone else must. Come on Jeremy!

    3. I can’t find today’s article and the latest attack on Starmer. What is with you? Are you jealous of his popularity? Anyway I’m sick of it. I heaved a sigh of relief when most Labour voters had to good sense to elect him. I and a good many others. So I am going to cancel my subscription forthwith. I sincerely hope your vitriolic writing won’t undermine him. He’s the best chance Labour has of being elected since Blair. REMEMBER CORBYN LOST 4 ELECTIONS!!!!!!!

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