Scotland to freeze rent costs: Sturgeon

·2-min read

Scotland's leader says she will bring in emergency legislation to introduce an immediate rent freeze to protect tenants as part of measures to tackle the United Kingdom's cost-of-living crisis.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the emergency law will "give people security about the roof over their head this winter through a moratorium on evictions".

It will also include measures to deliver a rent freeze for tenants in both the private and public rental markets.

"The Scottish Government does not have the power to stop your energy bills soaring but we can and will take action to make sure that your rent does not rise," Sturgeon said.

She added that the measure means that rent in Scotland will be frozen from Tuesday until at least March 2023.

Rail fares in Scotland will also not rise during the same period, Sturgeon said.

But property groups said the plan to bring in a freeze on rents in Scotland could lead to a fall in the number of properties available in the sector.

Scottish Property Federation director David Melhuish said the freeze would "do nothing to address the wider challenges of supplying enough homes for people to buy or rent".

He added: "If anything, this policy threatens to derail efforts to improve the supply of new, purpose-built homes for rent as investors pause to ask what else the Scottish government might be prepared to do".

"We fear there will be a further loss of homes in the Scottish private rented sector and the long-term consequences on investment in the nascent build-to-rent sector," he said.

He said the Scottish government must "ensure there is support for affected property owners, who are also facing significant cost increases".

Sturgeon's statement coincided on Tuesday with the appointment of Liz Truss as the UK's new prime minister.

Truss took office on Tuesday afternoon after winning the governing Conservative Party's leadership contest.

Truss inherits from her predecessor Boris Johnson a troubled economy and she is under immediate pressure to tackle a deepening crisis largely driven by spiralling energy bills.

Truss has promised to act immediately to help people with soaring costs.

Under its devolved government, Scotland makes some of its own laws but most fiscal policy matters are decided by the UK government in London.

with AP