Scotland to introduce rent controls



Scotland will introduce rent controls in the next five years after a deal was struck between the government and the Scottish Green Party.

The pair have pledged to “implement an effective national system of rent controls, enhance tenants’ rights and deliver 110,000 affordable homes by 2032”.

The policy programme has been called the Bute House Agreement and secures a majority government north of the border.

It’s thought the partnership could give the SNP’s quest for independence fresh impetus.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, said: “The agreement delivers bold policy action on pressing issues. A commitment to more affordable housing, a better deal for tenants and action to tackle poverty and inequality.

“Steps to accelerate our transition to net zero – more support for active travel, transformation of home energy and a ten year transition fund for the North East of Scotland.

“A focus on green jobs and fair work – and a sustainable recovery from COVID. We also reaffirm in this Agreement our shared commitment to securing independence for Scotland, and to giving people the right to choose our country’s future through a referendum.

“It recognises that business as usual is not good enough – we need boldness, courage and a will to do things differently. That is what we offer.”

The Green Party is known for favouring rent controls.

Councils can already opt to limit rent increases to the level of the Consumer Price Index plus 1% per year for five years by requesting Scottish ministers to designate a Rent Pressure Zone, though these powers are rarely used.

Indeed, the Green Party has been a vocal critic of Rent Pressure Zones for not going far enough.

Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Green Party, said: “This is a historic moment, which could not come at a more important time.

“We must build a fairer and compassionate country and we must do everything in our power to tackle the escalating climate and nature emergencies to deliver a just transition for all.

“That is what this deal will do. Fundamentally this is a new approach to politics.

“We agree on some things and disagree on others – those distinctive voices can and will remain.”

Lorna Slater, co-leader of the Green Party, said: “The stakes could not be higher – with the COP26 climate conference coming to Glasgow, Scotland is in a position show real leadership on climate.

“But this deal is about people as well as the planet. Together, we would deliver a new deal for tenants, giving tenants more rights and introducing rent controls to help tackle Scotland’s housing crisis, create a new National Park, and much more.

“That’s why we are pledging to work together to build a greener, fairer and independent Scotland.”

The Bute House Agreement also said Scotland will hold a referendum on Scottish independence after the COVID pandemic has passed, within the current parliamentary session.

Meanwhile some £1.8bn will be invested in energy efficiency and renewable heating over the same period.

The Scottish Conservatives labelled the partnership a “coalition of chaos” and demanded for the Greens to lose their spot at First Minister’s Questions, saying they can’t be in government and opposition.

The Tories also claimed power-sharing agreement is anti-jobs and anti-business.

The Scottish Conservatives said on Twitter: “We know the SNP are good at wasting taxpayers’ money, but over £200,000 per year to fund their coalition of chaos is absolutely ridiculous. Once again the public purse is being used to fund the SNP’s obsession to break up our country.

“The SNP are now against future oil and gas projects – and the Greens want to shut the industry down now and throw away the 100,000 jobs it supports.”

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