Housing Costs Have Increased Child Poverty by 27%
Analysis by Scottish Labour has revealed that housing costs have pushed an additional 50,000 children in Scotland into poverty.
The most recently released child poverty figures reveal that the number of children in poverty climbs from 180,000 to 230,000 when housing costs are taken into account. This is not suprising. The average rent in Scotland’s big cities has risen by 30% by 2010 while wages have remained stagnant - and even now rents are rising three times faster than wages. The property market is no different with house prices in Scotland growing eight times faster than in England and Wales.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have also declared rising housing costs responsible for the sharp uptick in pensioner poverty - reversing a 20 year trend. The political will from the Scottish and British government to deal with resurgent landlordism and property speculation is unfortunately lacking.
Scottish Labour is proposing a two-pronged approach to fix the housing sector: a huge increase in council house construction, and a new ‘rent restrictions act’ in the form of a Mary Barbour law, to cut rents, increase tenants rights, and peg rent rises to average wages. Critics claim this will force landlords out of the market - but similar laws have seen the rent bills fall across Europe without any adverse effects on housing supply.
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said:
“A home should be a basic fundamental human right. That’s why a Scottish Labour government would ensure access to a safe, secure, habitable, and affordable home.
“But a decade of SNP complacency on housing and rising rental costs is pushing additional children into poverty.
“The shameful levels of child poverty in this country may be driven by Tory austerity – but they are amplified by the failures of the SNP government at Holyrood.
“Ending the housing crisis would be a huge step towards tackling child poverty, and it is entirely within the gift of the Scottish Parliament.
“That is why, under my leadership, housing has been put front and centre of our plans to transform Scotland. Labour will argue for more innovative ways to build homes for social rent, and deliver the radical reforms the private rented sector needs to make it work for tenants.”