Covid-19 (Next Steps)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 9th July 2020.

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Photo of Pauline McNeill Pauline McNeill Labour

According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, almost 45 per cent of those who rent their homes in the private rented sector have seen a drop in their income since March, and almost 60 per cent have had to borrow or use up savings to pay rent. That is the highest proportion of any housing tenure, and those people are already in arrears with other bills.

Last week, the Local Government and Communities Committee said that it did not have enough time to take my proposed fair rents bill through the parliamentary process. That legislation is needed now more than ever. I hope that the First Minister will at least accept that rent pressure zones have been a failure and that we need something else.

In view of that, will the First Minister consider adopting my bill, and give stronger protection to renters? I accept that she cannot give me an answer now. However, could she tell me that she will have a discussion with the housing minister, and, if not, tell me what action the Scottish Government will take to prevent renters in the private rented sector from high rents at this important time?