Highlands & Islands MSP Emma Roddick has welcomed the announcement of a rent freeze and moratorium on evictions to help people through the cost crisis as part of the Scottish Government’s 2022-23 Programme for Government.
The programme, published yesterday [6th September 2022], contains details on the emergency legislation which will be called upon to introduce a freeze on rents until at least 31st March 2023. Ms Roddick made clear that, for communities in the Highlands & Islands to survive, affordable housing was of crucial importance and also welcomed the fresh tenants’ rights campaign included within the programme.
Speaking in the Chamber following the First Minister’s statement, Roddick commented:
“To say that I am relieved that a freeze will now be introduced ahead of the new Housing Bill is an understatement. This is the right thing to do, it prioritises people’s safety and security over private financial gain, and it will save lives.
“I feel for those who have had their rents increased over recent months, but I hope that people can see the value in the peace of mind provided by not having further increases at a time where very few can afford it. I’m glad also to hear that the Housing Bill itself will look at protections in the long term, as well as addressing short-term lets and other housing pressures which are devastating communities in the Highlands & Islands.
“If communities in my region are to stand any chance of continuing, and if employers, including the NHS, are to be able to recruit in those areas, we need people to be able to find an affordable place to live. Sadly, that is not possible in many of our towns.
“I want my region to diversify, to use its vast resources and knowledge and to be a key player in Scotland’s place on the world stage. That is far from out of reach, but we need support to retain the people who we have and, right now, only those on the highest of salaries can live and work in and contribute to those communities. Housing is absolutely at the heart of that issue, and today’s announcement recognises that.”