By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Labour has called once more on the Scottish Government to extend the eviction ban.
Deputy Leader Jackie Baillie warned that many are still in a precarious financial situation due to the pandemic, and called for an extension of the eviction ban for people living in level 1 and 2 areas to be included in the forthcoming coronavirus bill.
On Monday, Scottish Labour housing spokesperson Mark Griffin called on the Scottish Government to extend the eviction ban, stating, “We cannot turn a blind eye to Scotland’s tenants in their hour of need.”
Speaking in the chamber, Jackie Baillie said: “Everyone would agree that this has been a tough year. Key elements of the coronavirus legislation have provided a safety net for those struggling to get by because of the impact of the pandemic.
“People who are struggling to keep out of debt or keep a roof over their heads must be protected. As the furlough scheme unwinds, more people may lose their jobs and will struggle to make ends meet.
“The Cabinet Secretary [Shona Robison SNP] will be aware that eviction proceedings are already before the courts – 16 in Edinburgh yesterday and 28 in Glasgow today. It is therefore imperative that we maintain that safety net.
“So, can the Cabinet Secretary confirm that he intends to keep in place vital lifeline protections including excluding evictions for people living in level 1 and 2 areas, and extending notice periods for evictions in a package of measures to make it more difficult for someone to lose their home in the new coronavirus bill?”
UPDATE: Friday, June 11, 2021
EVICTION BAN MUST BE EXTENDED NOW – BAILLIE
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton constituency, has said that the Scottish Government must extend the eviction ban now, as the entire country is either in level 2 or level 1.
The current eviction ban in place only protects tenants in level 3 or above. With the entire country now in level 2 or level 1, it is imperative that the ban is extended.
Tenants’ organisations such as Living Rent have warned of a ‘cliff edge of orders to evict’ in the event of the country entering level 2.
Statistics from the Housing Regulator show an increase on notices of proceedings being served to social housing tenants which related to rent arrears of 280 per cent from June 2020 to the end of March 2021. This week there were cases before both Glasgow and Edinburgh Sheriff Courts for eviction.
Citizens Advice Scotland has also reported that requests for advice about arrears with private landlords more than doubled from 2019 to 2020.
With thousands of tenants feeling the strain of the pandemic and many still on furlough, Jackie Baillie is calling for the eviction ban to be extended, for the Government to reform the Tenant’s Hardship Loan Fund, and for easier access to discretionary housing payments (DHPs).
Jackie Baillie MSP said: “Make no mistake, we are still in the midst of a pandemic and the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people are on the line including so many in our local area.
“Dumbarton, the Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond are now in level one but we have no guarantee that the country will remain at those levels. It would therefore be deeply irresponsible to allow evictions to begin again in earnest.
“Statistics clearly show that tenants are struggling and still need support. That’s why I am calling on the SNP to extend the eviction ban, reform the Tenant’s Hardship Loan Fund, and deliver easier access to discretionary housing payments. We cannot turn a blind eye to Scotland’s tenants in their hour of need.”