Private rents rising faster than wages, Scottish Labour warns

Pauline McNeill MSP

Scottish Labour is maintaining its recent push for the cost of private renting to be controlled with new analysis which reveals that the cost of private rented accommodation in Scotland is rising faster than workers’ wages over the last five years.

Figures show that while the average cost of private lets has increased by 16% between 2012 and 2017, wages have only gone up by 12% over the same period.

2012 2017 % change
Median gross weekly pay for all employees in Scotland (£) 396 442 12%
Average (mean) Private rent (£ monthly) – 2 bedroom property Scotland 553 643 16%

 Source: Private Sector Rent Statistics, Scotland, 2010 to 2017: Scottish Government

Labour said the figures were reflective of a broken housing market exacerbated by austerity.

The party has started work on a ‘Mary Barbour law’ to reform the private rented sector, by limiting rent rises with a link to wages to ensure they are affordable

Scottish Labour’s housing spokesperson Pauline McNeill said: “Scotland’s housing crisis is seeing private sector rents rising faster than people’s wages, making housing even more expensive and pushing people further into poverty.

“Too many young families are caught in a vicious cycle – a lack of affordable public housing forces people to rent privately and as a result they are paying rip-off rents which stops them saving for a deposit to buy their own home.

“Our Mary Barbour law, which I am bringing forward as a Member’s Bill, would stop this happening and give people hope that they can have secure, affordable tenancies.”