Scots back tougher rent controls for private sector as number of kids in poverty doubles

Scots families stuck in the private rental market are being pushed into "severe poverty", with 50,000 kids paying the price.

According to analysis by Scottish Labour, the number of children in private rented housing living in severe poverty has more than doubled in a decade. 

Scottish government data reveals that 20,000 children in the private rented sector were living in severe poverty during the three
year period between 2005/06 - 2007/08.

However, the latest three year period, covering 2015/16 to 2017/18, reveals that figure has more than doubled to 50,000.

The shocking statistics come as new polling showed 75 per cent of respondents would support tougher rent controls across Scotland.

The SNP government previously introduced "rent pressure zones", however a report by Living Rent published alongside the Commom Weal think tank last month said the new powers had failed Scots tenants.

Severe poverty is defined as being below 50 per cent of UK median income after housing cost.

Labour said the figures underlined the impact of Scotland’s housing crisis, with a lack of affordable housing pushing low income people into the under
regulated and more precarious private rented sector.

The party has set a target of 12,000 council and housing association homes built per year and is working on a ‘Mary Barbour law’ to help deliver fair rents in
Scotland.

Scottish Labour Housing spokesperson Pauline McNeill said:

“The housing crisis is creating acute child poverty across Scotland.

“Too many families are caught in a vicious cycle – a lack of affordable public housing forces people to rent privately and as a result they are paying rip-off
rents which hammers their cost of living.

“We need an urgent change of pace – building more homes for social rent and fixing the problems in the private rented sector. Building more homes is key,
social housing is the best value for money as an investment in the nation’s housing stock.

“Labour’s Mary Barbour law would give people hope that they can have secure, affordable tenancies. Only Scottish Labour has a plan for real change in the
housing sector which will help the many, not the few.”

Gordon Maloney, a campaigner with Living Rent, said:

“These figures should be a wake up call to the Scottish Government. Rent controls are enormously popular, and it is no surprise - far too many tenants across the country are being forced into poverty by sky-high rents.

Now we need urgent action. if politicians turn a blind-eye to the housing crisis, voters will not forgive them.”

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