THE Scottish Government has “no excuses” for not bringing in a rent freeze for all tenants living in both private and socially rented accommodation, a Labour MSP has insisted.

Mercedes Villalba is demanding action from ministers as households come under increased pressure from the rising cost of living.

With many now facing “endless worry and hardship” because of the current financial situation, the Labour politician said Scottish ministers could help by preventing landlords from increasing rent charges.

She said: “Powers over housing and rental law are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, and ministers need to act now. There are no excuses whatsoever for not doing so.”

Villalba’s comments come as she says “many families are facing endless worry and hardship from the Tory government’s cut in universal credit, hikes in energy prices, alongside record rent rises”.

Amid a “really tough and uncertain time”, she said UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak (below) “failed to address” the problems in his recent spring budget statement.

The National:

But she insisted Scottish ministers could help families across the country.

Villalba said: “A rent freeze will relieve many of them of a major pressure on their household budgets and provide increased security that they can afford to keep a decent roof over their heads.

“It will also assist the economic recovery from Covid by maintaining demand in our economy by protecting household incomes.”

Tenants’ rights minister Patrick Harvie said the Scottish Government is consulting on reforms for those who rent their home – with one considered measure being a commitment to introduce new rent controls.

Harvie stated: “I know that many tenants are struggling financially and much more needs done to tackle housing costs.

“Before Christmas, I launched our New Deal for Tenants consultation which proposes a whole range of reforms – from better protection against eviction to more rights to personalise tenants’ homes and higher quality standards.

“I’d urge tenants to give their views on the consultation before it closes on April 15.

“The New Deal also sets out our commitment to introduce new rent controls for private tenants – more than any government in the UK has done for more than three decades.

“The most recent debate in Parliament showed a clear majority of MSPs in favour of rent controls but also recognition that any arrangements have to be robust for the long term.

“That is why I am determined to push forward as fast as we can and to produce controls which provide lasting benefit to tenants.”