Section 12A — Short Scottish secure tenancies

Part of Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 10:45 am on 17th June 2004.

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Photo of Margaret Curran Margaret Curran Labour 10:45 am, 17th June 2004

Bear with me while I follow the logic of my argument.

Sometimes, however, we have to make things happen. In the previous session of Parliament, when we debated the Housing (Scotland) Bill, that was the logic that we followed. When we deal with serious antisocial behaviour, we must ensure that support measures kick in before eviction takes place. The Tories supported that argument then—this is not the first time that they have been inconsistent. If we do not make landlords assume responsibility for sorting out the issues, their only option will be to move to eviction. A number of landlords might do that. The Executive is saying not that landlords should go straight to eviction, but that they must provide support and that they have another option in tackling antisocial behaviour.

When somebody accuses us of being unfair and treating people unequally, we take that seriously. However, different tenures exist. If members think that we should not recognise that and address the issues, the logic of their position—as Johann Lamont pointed out—is that we should abolish the social landlords' powers of eviction. Landlords have those powers, and we have all voted for measures that allow them to use them. We must recognise that different tenures exist. In the owner-occupied sector—and there are working-class people who own their homes—lenders sometimes move straight for repossession. That is damaging to owner-occupiers; it is unequal, too, and the Executive seeks to address that. Sometimes there are different realities.

The measure that we propose will not allow people to be unduly evicted, nor is it saying that people in the social rented sector are lesser. We are creating a means of ensuring that antisocial behaviour is prevented and dealt with before the stage of eviction is reached.

The power will ensure that support is provided. It will delay evictions, and it will help to solve antisocial behaviour. That is what we are here today to talk about. If any of us lived with antisocial behaviour, as some people in Scotland do, we would be keen to ensure that solutions were maximised. That is what this power will do.