Scotland is set to pass emergency laws to freeze rents and help tenants cope with the worsening cost of living crisis.
Nicola Sturgeon, the Prime Minister, announced the measure as she drew up plans to deal with the “humanitarian emergency” caused by soaring energy bills.
“We will take immediate action to protect tenants in the private and social rental sectors,” Ms Sturgeon said.
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Rail fares on ScotRail – which was made public this year – will also be frozen until at least March 2023 and the Scottish Child Payment will increase to £25 a week for each child from November, the First Minister has said.
The intervention comes as the rest of the UK waits for Liz Truss to announce her cost of living support scheme as she takes office as Prime Minister.
Sky News understands that energy bills should be set at £2,500which would be financed by a loan rather than by a tax levy.
Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly called for a freeze on the energy price cap and wants an emergency four-nation summit on the “cost crisis”.
Speaking at Holyrood as she unveiled her package, Ms Sturgeon said: “The Scottish Government has no power to stop your energy bills from skyrocketing, but we can and will take action. measures to ensure that your rent does not increase.”
Ms Sturgeon said the purpose of the emergency law will be twofold.
“First, it will aim to give people rooftop security over their heads this winter through a moratorium on evictions,” she said.
“Second, the legislation will include measures to freeze rents.”
The decision was criticized by the Scottish Association of Landlords, who said the government was “attacking landlords for political reasons”.
Cost of living ‘highlights need for independence’
The plans announced on Tuesday were part of the Prime Minister’s annual program for the Government Address, which takes place at the start of each New Year at Holyrood.
Ms Sturgeon also said her government would introduce legislation to hold a second independence referendum in October next year if ministers were given the green light by the UK Supreme Court.
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Ms Sturgeon said the rising cost of living ‘highlights the pressing need for independence’ as it would ’empower us to build a better, richer and fairer future’.
“We are reminded every day that where – and in whose hands – the power really does matter,” she said.
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