Labour Activists Hit The Streets As Scottish Rents Predicted To Skyrocket
Hundreds of Scottish Labour activists hit the streets today to promote their new housing policy, as rents were predicted to rise more than three times faster than wages.
The policy, decided at the recent Scottish Labour conference, includes far-ranging rent controls through a ‘Mary Barbour Law’ and massive increases in social housebuilding, funded in part through council pension funds. The private rented sector has tripled in size since the introduction of devolution, and rents in Scotland’s biggest cities have grown by over 30% since 2010. Scottish Labour believes that these policies, directed at the ever increasing numbers of people with no option but to rent privately, highlight a new confident political agenda.
Speaking at one of the pre-campaign rallies, Cllr Martin Rhodes described the ‘rent pressure zones’ which the Scottish Government introduced after a huge campaigning effort by Living Rent, as "timid". These zones would only cap rent increases by 1% over inflation, around 4% at present. But property consultancy firm JLL has predicted average rent increases of over 3% in Scotland’s big cities, far above current wage growth, with an expanding build-to-rent market swamping traditional private sector housebuilding. House prices in Scotland have also risen at eight times the average in England and Wales, increasing the pressure on young renters.
Scottish Labour are expected to bring forward a bill to Holyrood to enact the Mary Barbour Law in the near future. Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard said that the housing crisis meant that “housing must be put back to the top of the political agenda, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”