Rent freeze planned for Scotland welcomed by campaigners

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a rent freeze for public and private rented properties yesterday to help people battling with rising household bills.

Announced during the annual Programme for Government speech, Sturgeon called the cost-of-living crisis a ‘humanitarian emergency’.

A package of measures has been released aimed at addressing the crisis, with rents for private and socially rented homes to be frozen until the spring.

The Scottish government has also agreed to ban evictions throughout the winter and to raise Scottish child payments going to low-income households from £20 to £25 a week from November.

Age Scotland has welcomed the news, saying it would go a long way to protect elderly tenants struggling to cope with the rising cost of living.

Adam Stachura, head of policy and communications at Age Scotland, said: ‘Older people on low incomes in Scotland are facing one of the worst cost of living crisis in memory. For the growing number of older people living in rented accommodation today’s announcement is at least one less thing for them to worry about over winter.

‘Older people are telling us they will cut back on buying food, skip meals or heat just one room of their house to be able to pay their bills. It’s not unacceptable in 21st century Scotland.’

However, the organisation said that they were keen to see the Scottish Government support their calls for a national benefits uptake campaign to ensure older people claim all the financial support they’re entitled to.

The Scottish Government also has plans to double the Fuel Insecurity Fund to £20m, extend eligibility for the Tenant Grant Fund and to freeze rail fares.

Ms Sturgeon said action required to address the crisis should be ‘on a scale similar to the Covid response’ and warned that the Scottish government only had so much power to tackle it.

She said: ‘Regrettably, the powers to act in the manner and on the scale needed do not lie with this Parliament. Frankly, they should. 

‘If they did, we could have acted already. But they don’t. These powers are reserved, for now, to Westminster.

‘The magnitude of what is being experienced by people and businesses across the UK means that mitigation is nowhere near sufficient.’

The First Minister has called on new Prime Minister Liz Truss to cancel the October price cap, freeze energy bills, provide additional financial support and increase budgets of devolved governments.

She said it was important that if energy prices are frozen that costs do not fall onto consumers over the longer term.

Photo by chris robert


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