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SNP and Tories ‘team up’ to block rights for tenants during coronavirus crisis

THE SNP teamed up with Scottish Tories to prevent stability for renters during the pandemic today by blocking tenants’ rights from the Coronavirus Bill.

Scottish Greens housing spokesman Andy Wightman had proposed amendments to the emergency legislation, including a two-year rent freeze and measures to ensure that no tenant can be evicted at any time as a result of rent arrears accrued over the course of the coronavirus crisis.

And Scottish Labour MSP Pauline McNeill had proposed a support fund for tenants who are unable to pay their rent because of reduced income as a result of Covid-19.

Mr Wightman said: “Housing is a human right, and access to good housing is a public-health issue; that’s why it is deeply disappointing to see SNP MSPs once again team up with the Tories to block clear progress on social justice. 

“A rent freeze and a ban on evictions based on arrears accumulated as a result of this crisis would have provided much-needed security for people who are financially most at risk.”

"The First Minister said she wanted to build a fairer and more equal Scotland from this crisis, yet her party seem keen to make it less fair and less equal.”

The vote came as SNP and Scottish Tories secured a deal to provide financial support for landlords. 

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “It is Scotland’s tenants, not landlords, who face the prospect of eviction if Covid-19 leaves them unable to pay rent. 

“That's why it’s so disappointing that the SNP, which has set up a ‘landlords’ fund’, joined Tories in voting down our proposal for a tenants’ fund this morning.”

Labour MP for Glasgow North East Paul Sweeney wrote that he was “dismayed” by Scottish ministers who voted against the amendments.

“This crisis requires a bold Scottish Parliament acting to end exploitative landlordism, not emboldening it,” he said.

Labour and Co-op city councillor Eva Murray said it was “really disappointing” to see the two party’s “team up” against the amendments.

She said: “The interests of landlords shouldn’t be put ahead of tenant security and protection.”

Labour councillor Matt Kerr tweeted a “note to comrades elsewhere in the UK that fawn over the SNP” that the teaming-up on the votes was the “reality.”

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