Private landlords have made more than £2billion in housing benefit in the last five years, new figures from Scottish Labour have revealed.
Alex Rowley MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife highlighted that nearly £45 million alone last year was made by private landlords from housing benefit across Mid Scotland and Fife.
On average, £1 in every £4 from housing benefit has gone to a private landlord since 2011/12.
Labour said the figures underline the SNP’s failure to tackle the housing crisis, and called for accelerated investment in housing.
Scottish Labour Deputy Leader Alex Rowley said:
“I have been calling on the Government for some time to address what is evidently a housing crisis spiralling out of control across Scotland. The private rented sector is an area where work needs to be done, the result of the ongoing housing crisis is that one in every four pounds of housing benefit goes into the hands of private landlords. This is coupled with the fact that the average private rented sector rent has soared by 14% since 2010.
“Money that is spent on housing benefit should be used to support those that need it, whereas instead we are seeing that money end up in the pockets of private landlords. That is why I want to see a reform of the private rented sector to ban rip-off rent rises.
“To begin tackling this, it is obvious that we need to build more houses. I have been calling for a national house build plan, and as part of that Scottish Labour would like to see 60,000 homes built over the next five years, 45,000 for rent through a council or a housing association. To deliver this we need a national house build plan alongside co-ordinated local delivery strategies.
“We as a country must accelerate investment in housebuilding. This can start to go some way towards tackling the issues we are seeing in the private rented sector. We also need to address the rising levels of fuel poverty in the private sector. The standard that we set for people to live in social rented houses should be the same for the private market, especially given that so much public money from housing benefit is used in this sector.”
Housing Benefit Expenditure Scotland – Private Rented Sector
|Housing Benefit Expenditure Scotland – Private Rented Sector|
|Private||Total||Private as % of Total|