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SNP and Greens forced to pick a side on emergency rent freeze

Mercedes Villalba MSP.

SNP and Green politicians will be forced to choose whether to introduce an emergency rent freeze for struggling tenants – or vote against it.

North East Labour MSP Mercedes Villalba is trying to strongarm the government into introducing measures as part of its Covid Recovery Bill at Holyrood.

The SNP-Green administration is already consulting on legislation which would bring in a form of rent controls before the end of the current parliamentary term.

But Ms Villalba says tenants “cannot afford to wait for three or more years”.

She wants to change the legislation to immediately freeze rents until the longer term controls are agreed.

What will that mean for MSPs?

The amendment will be voted on by MSPs of all parties who will need to decide whether to back or oppose the move, or abstain completely.

Under the proposal, ministers would be forced to produce a plan to complete a rent freeze within three months of that section of the Bill coming into force.

It would then remain in place “until the Scottish Ministers bring forward legislation in relation to rent control measures”.

Holyrood's new MSPs

Ms Villalba said low income and hard-pressed families are being hit by soaring rents and going without essentials.

“SNP and Green MSPs must vote for this parliamentary amendment to protect impoverished renters and ensure that it passes into law, as part of the Covid Recovery Bill,” she said.

“A failure to support these measures will be an abject betrayal of low income and hard-pressed families, who are suffering from grinding poverty due to Tory policies.”

‘Little more than warm words’

We reported previously how concerns that struggling renters are being offered “little more than warm words” as they campaign for help during the cost of living crisis.

Official figures show average costs for a two-bedroom rental property in Dundee have soared by more than 20% in the past decade.

The average rent in Dundee and Angus for 2021 was £601 per month, compared to the Scotland average of £693.

Average rent in Fife was £616, while Perth and Kinross was £590.

The SNP and Scottish Government were approached for comment.

Tenants ‘can’t afford to wait any longer’ for rent freeze

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