By Bill Heaney
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has backed demands for the Scottish Government to move faster to get the Tenant Hardship Grant Scheme up and running.
The Tenant Hardship Grant Fund was announced on June 22, during a Holyrood debate on Covid legislation, after pressure from Scottish Labour – but two months on no further details have been made available.
This comes after Scottish Labour revealed that evictions for social housing tenants in rent arrears increased six-fold after the evictions ban was lifted.
So far tenants have only had access to a hardship loan, forcing them to pay off debt with more debt. Government figures show that only 1 in 5 applications to the loan scheme are successful, with hundreds of applicants getting refused after failing affordability and credit checks.
Jackie Baillie, left, has accused the SNP of “abandoning tenants” by failing to put a grant scheme in place before the end of the evictions ban.
Jackie Baillie MSP said: “The complete lack of urgency the SNP have shown in getting lifeline support to tenants simply beggars belief.
“Since the evictions ban was scrapped tenants have been left in limbo for months, without that legal protection or proper financial support.
“All the SNP has offered so far is their loan scheme, which forces tenants to pay off debt with more debt – and most can’t even access that.
“They are abandoning tenants and the consequences of these shameful decisions will lie squarely at their door.
“We are facing a tidal wave of evictions if we do not act. There is no time to waste.”