PRS expansion undermines Scottish Governments hopes of reducing poverty
According to recent research by one of the largest UK social policy research charities, the proportion of Scottish households now privately rented has risen from 7% in 1991 to 14% today.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have also found that :
- On average, PRS rents are 86% higher than social housing rents.
- Scotlands historically large share of social housing has fallen by 17 percentage points in the last 20 years – from 830,000 in 1991 to 575,000 in 2011 – which represents 24% of households.
- The number of households in poverty in the PRS has doubled in the last decade to 120,000.
- The number of households in poverty in social housing has almost halved, to 190,000.
- A quarter of poor households live in the PRS in Scotland, up from one in 10 a decade ago.
Tom MacInnes, co-author of the report, said:
“Affordable housing, often social housing, has been key to progress in tackling poverty in Scotland. As the stock declines, low-income families increasingly find themselves in more expensive, private rented accommodation.
“This undermines the Scottish Government’s hopes of reducing poverty and tackling high living costs.”
The report said the fall in the number of people in social housing had initially coincided with a rise in the number of people buying their own homes, but added that “more recently growth in private renting has been greater”.
Jim McCormick, Scotland adviser to JRF, warned that a failure to act on these “stark” figures would see poverty rates in Scotland rise.
“The focus of debate on housing during the referendum campaign has been dominated by the under-occupancy charge (the so-called ‘bedroom tax’).
“While there have been significant steps to mitigate its impact, both sides must not lose sight of another trend: more families facing higher housing costs and rising levels of poverty in private rented homes. Whatever the outcome, failing to act on these stark figures will see Scotland’s poverty rate rise.”
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With Britain set to turn into a nation of renters this truly means that Tenant Referencing by all landlords and letting agents is unavoidable.
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