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News: Renter Power! UK's first-ever Minister for Tenants' Rights appointed

Fri, 03 Sep 21

The prospect of increased renters’ power has already been seen north of the border with the pledge to introduce rent controls - now the Scottish Government has appointed the UK’s first ever Minister for Tenants’ Rights.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has revealed that one of the two Green Party members of the Scottish Parliament appointed to her government will take the new role. 

It’s Patrick Harvie, whose formal position will be known as Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights. 

A statement from the SNP-led government says Harvie’s responsibilities will include driving policy changes that shift Scotland away from reliance on high carbon modes of transport and heating, and “delivering a new deal for tenants, and ensuring building standards are fit for purpose.”

Nicola Sturgeon says: “This historic cooperation agreement is founded in a shared drive to work together in the Scottish Government to build a greener, fairer, independent Scotland.

“We have massive challenges to overcome: a global pandemic and its lasting effects, the climate emergency and the assault by the UK government on the powers of our Parliament.” 

Harvie himself says: “We are at a crucial tipping point in terms of our relationship with the planet. I am thrilled at the opportunity to drive forward policies that enhance peoples’ lives while supporting the urgent goal of tackling the climate emergency as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Harvie’s ascent to power follows the deal between the Scottish National Party and the Green Party to ensure a majority government north of the border.

They say that rent controls - possibly adopting a Green Party policy that rents do not exceed 25 per cent of household income - will be introduced later in this parliament.

A document outlining issues with the support of both parties, published last week, says an objective of the new Scottish Government will be to “implement an effective national system of rent controls, enhance tenants’ rights” as well as delivering 110,000 affordable homes by 2032.” 

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