The National:

Good evening! This week's edition of the In Common newsletter comes from Kaitlin Dryburgh, policy and communication co-ordinator at Common Weal. To receive the newsletter direct to your inbox every week click here.

The Netherlands are teetering on the edge of a housing meltdown. The average house costs a staggering €452,000, meanwhile the average Dutch salary remains at €44,000. These prices have been severely inflated by the nation’s capital where property prices are eye-watering, yet overall it means the average house costs more than 10 times the average salary. For young people this has meant finding and keeping a rented home has become somewhat of a job in itself, and their hope of one day owning a home is not even a consideration.

The Netherlands are not alone. This is a pan-European crisis.

As I write this Holyrood has declared a nation-wide housing emergency, with the situation now too pressing to completely ignore. The Scottish Government was going to lose a vote on this to Labour so has come round. However, change will be limited without serious financial backing. Having deserted climate targets even though previously declaring a climate emergency, confidence that the Government will fix this is dissipating.

The National: Tenements in Glasgow

READ MORE: A new approach to housing in Scotland could stop evictions

The problem with Scottish housing has manifested in many different ways. We’ve got thousands living in temporary accommodation including thousands of children, private rents soaring and renters being ripped-off, a rise in holiday-lets, mortgage rates remaining high and young people generally the worst off in among all of this.

They're Generation Rent, because as it stands there’s not a hope on mother’s earth that they’ll get on the property ladder, at least not without substantial help. The property ladder has been synonymous with growing up: You get your first place, you move and expand, you always reach for bigger and better, maybe even a second home or holiday home if you’re lucky. It’s the neoliberal agenda, always investing, expanding, and accumulating.

If you managed to get on that ladder by the early 90s you’re laughing. The majority of those who did have seen a big monetary pay-off. You’ve completed and won on the property ladder, passed GO and collected what you’re owed.

However, for those trying to roll the dice and make their first move on the property ladder all the average young person can see are the backsides of those at the very top. For those who are able to get on the ladder, the majority are hanging on for dear life. Any increase or unforeseen change could leave them tumbling back to the start.

The media has enjoyed letting the narrative continue that if those young people just stopped with the avocado toast and Netflix subscriptions they would be in a four-bed detached by now. Quite often the opinions of housing developers and landlords drown out the struggles of younger generations in the news.

The National: The drama series is inspired by the real-life experiences of comedian and writer Richard Gadd (Alamy/PA)

READ MORE: Could compulsory sales orders help tackle Scotland's housing crisis?

On the flip side, the plight of Generation Rent has been heard before. Occasionally the media will publish a story of young people unable to get on the property ladder without substantial help from parents. Or a personal piece about how some young professional with a healthy wage struggles to afford their one-bed rent. Yet, what has actually been done to solve the problem? Are the younger generations (and others struggling in our housing system) actually being listened to, or just pacified?

We’ve had a run of initiatives to try and solve the problem. For example, the now-defunct Help to Buy Scheme was initially proposed as a tool to help those first-time buyers to get on the property ladder, but its effects were mostly working against those who were struggling the most. Like many of these initiatives their true intention is to keep bolstering house prices.

Who does that help? It helps property developers, investors, politicians, and a shrinking group of homeowners who bought at the right time. It unequivocally doesn’t help first-time buyers. In fact it is thought that this particular scheme most likely didn’t help anyone get on the property ladder who wouldn’t have got there on their own.

What we’ve never seen is action to control house prices to stop the extreme fluctuations we’ve become accustomed to in recent times. Not even as much as a revised Council Tax system which would help control things. Common Weal’s Property Tax policy provides a solution. However, as long as we continue to prescribe to this neo-liberal way of thinking, Generation Rent will continue to grow and grow.

The National:

READ MORE: Solution to the current housing shortage is blindingly obvious

There's more than one reason that campaigning for renters’ rights has ramped up; increasing rents and weak protections at the top. But it’s also because young people are facing up to a life of rent and have to make renting work for them as they currently have no other option.

So why would young people believe their voices and best interests are being considered when the current model looks to prioritise rising home prices and protecting those already on the property ladder? Shelter is a right, but being able to buy your own property shouldn’t be an impossible ask. If this new housing emergency is to mean anything, the Government must listen carefully and act effectively.