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Nicola Sturgeon urged to back 'emergency rent freeze' to help struggling Scots

By Chris McCall

Nicola Sturgeon has been called on to introduce an "immediate emergency rent freeze" to help tenants across Scotland who are struggling to make ends meet.

Mercedes Villalba has written to the First Minister to urge the Scottish Government to use its existing powers to protect Scots who rent their homes.

SNP and Green ministers are already consulting on legislation which will introduce a form of rent controls before the end of the parliamentary term.

But the Scottish Labour MSP said tenants "cannot afford to wait for three or more years".

Villalba raised the issue of an "immediate emergency rent freeze" with Sturgeon at Holyrood last month and is now pressing for action.

"The Scottish Government does have powers which could be used to address one of the biggest problems faced by people right now - rising rent costs," she said in a letter to the SNP leader.

"While I welcome your government's commitment to introducing rent controls, tenants cannot afford to wait three or more years for action.

"The issues facing tenants have been compounded since the start of the pandemic as incomes have decreased - pushing many into rent arrears - all the while the cost of living continues to rise.

"In recognition of this, some housing associations and councils have frozen rents, showing it can be done."

"A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We know that many tenants are struggling financially.

"That's why we have provided £82m in housing support this year and why our New Deal for Tenants consultation proposes a whole range of reforms – from better protection against eviction to more rights to personalise tenants’ homes and higher quality standards.

"It also sets out our clear commitment to introduce new rent controls in the current Parliamentary session, more than any government within the UK has done for more than three decades."

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Dive Deeper:
SNP make 'major concessions' on Covid 'power grab' bill after outcry
THE Scottish Government has significantly walked back parts of its controversial Covid “power grab” bill, John Swinney has announced.
Metals firm handed £586m Scottish Government support package facing court bankruptcy fight
Taxpayers could be hit with ­crippling losses if businessman Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance goes under as a result of the…
Older UK renters forced to cut back on spending as living costs soar
Exclusive: Many tenants aged over 65 are already struggling, Independent Age research finds
SNP accused of 'sheer hypocrisy' over Fergus Ewing bullying claims probe
Nicola Sturgeon's Government is declining to reveal the outcome of the case, but her party demanded transparency over Tory bullying…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Nicola Sturgeon rubbishes 'culture of secrecy' claims in bulling row
NICOLA Sturgeon has dismissed claims there’s a “culture of secrecy and cover-up” in her government over allegations of bullying.
SNP MP Joanna Cherry defies Nicola Sturgeon over bullying investigations after Fergus Ewing row
Joanna Cherry said the outcomes of bullying probes should be published after the First Minister refused to answer questions about…
Get all your news in one place