8:11 AM, 5th October 2022, About A year ago 14
Just a day after the Scottish Government unveiled its legislation for introducing a rent freeze, politicians in Wales are calling for the same measure.
Plaid Cymru says it has forced the Welsh Government to look again at enacting a rent freeze and a moratorium on evictions.
The party’s housing spokesperson, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS, has accused the Welsh Government of ‘dragging their heels’ over starting this ‘critical work’.
Last week in the Senedd committee for Local Government and Housing, Mr ap Gwynfor called for a ban on all evictions and for all rents to be frozen until after winter, as has been announced in Scotland.
In response, the Minister responsible for housing, Julie James MS, confirmed she was looking at options and was ‘actively in contact’ with the Scottish Government.
However, she had not yet reviewed their research.
The announcement from the Scottish Government to freeze rents and ban evictions came on 6 September, and the Scottish measures are expected to remain in place until the end of March 2023.
Mr ap Gwynfor said: “The Labour Welsh Government is fiddling while Wales freezes.
“There’s no sense of urgency, and in the meantime, the cold fingers of winter creep ever closer.”
He added: “That work should have been commissioned and completed as soon as possible, and yet we find out that the Welsh Government are still at the stage of gathering evidence.
“Plaid Cymru saw this coming down the tracks and have repeated our calls at every opportunity.
“Numerous anti-poverty campaigners and charities, including Shelter Cymru have been calling for this.”
Mr ap Gwynfor continued: “Scottish Government clearly did their work. Meanwhile, the Labour Welsh Government has been dragging its heels.
“Time is very short, and Welsh Government urgently need to set out their timetable for when action could be taken, because winter will be on us before we know it.”
In First Minister’s Questions, Adam Price, Plaid Cymru’s leader, said that the coming winter could be the hardest on record with people facing stagnating wages and rising costs.
The party, which has a co-operation agreement with Labour in the Senedd, asked what more evidence was needed to prevent homelessness and urged the government to announce, ‘they will freeze all rents and by banning all evictions now.’
However, the First Minister Mark Drakeford warned that a rent freeze would not be a ‘panacea’.
He said that the Welsh government fears ‘unintended consequences’ which would see landlords reacting to a rent freeze by selling-up and leaving the market.
Mr Drakeford pointed out that ministers want to extend a planned extension to the notice for no fault evictions from two months to six months to existing tenants.
And, he added, that the Scottish Government had told him of their fears that there would be a ‘stampede’ by landlords to evict tenants – and there would be a collapse in the supply of homes to rent.
Instead, a White Paper will look at a proposal of rent controls as part of the agreement between Labour and Plaid Cymru.
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