The SNP-Green rent freeze has resulted in a “staggering” £700 million worth of housing development in Scotland being paused or lost entirely, new analysis has revealed.
Research from the Scottish Property Federation shows that evidence from their members highlighted that since the emergency legislation was introduced, it has resulted in projects being put on hold or lost altogether to Scotland’s private rented sector.
Their research says this could mean 4,000 modern and energy efficient homes may now not appear in the rented sector.
Shadow housing secretary Miles Briggs says this proves that the rent freeze, introduced by the SNP-Green coalition in October, with support from Labour has had “deeply damaging consequences” for Scotland’s housing market.
On Thursday Patrick Harvie confirmed that the freeze would be replaced by a cap in the private rented sector, with landlords able to increase rents by three per cent from April 1. However, Scottish Land and Estates have described that figure as “being plucked out of thin air.”
Lord Haughey put on hold plans to build 11,000 affordable homes as part of a £1 billion plan, saying Patrick Harvie’s decision to impose a rent freeze was a “big part of his decision to halt the project.”
Miles Briggs says the rent freeze has meant SNP-Green ministers have taken Scotland ‘backwards’ when it comes to addressing the lack of homes for prospective tenants and that the policy was “ill-conceived” from the start.
He added that much more needs to be done to address Scotland’s housing crisis than ministers chasing “easy headlines” through the introduction of their rent freeze.
Scottish Conservative shadow housing secretary Miles Briggs MSP, said: “These figures are absolutely staggering.
“Scotland is in the grip of a housing crisis under the SNP-Green government, but their ill-conceived rent freeze plans have resulted in £700 million worth of housing development being paused or abandoned altogether in just a few short months.
“The analysis from the Scottish Property Federation proves how the SNP-Green government’s emergency legislation- supported by Labour- has had deeply damaging consequences for Scotland’s housing market.
“We already know Lord Haughey put the brakes on a project that would have delivered 11,000 affordable homes, citing Patrick Harvie’s rent freeze as a major factor in making that decision.
“Now we see the extraordinary impact that the rent freeze has had more widely. Prospective tenants chances of moving into affordable, good quality rented homes are being let down by ministers who were chasing easy headlines.
“The SNP have failed miserably to meet crucial housebuilding targets in recent years and their focus should have been on addressing the real and long-term issues affecting tenants, rather than introducing this counterproductive policy.
“They railroaded it through Parliament with little to no thought of how this could put crucial housing developments on hold or being abandoned altogether, and the buck stops with them.”
The Scottish Property Federation estimates that £700 million in residential investment has been paused or lost due to Patrick Harvie’s rent freeze. Evidence received by the Scottish Property Federation suggested that in the four months since the emergency legislation was announced, over £700 million of residential investment had been paused or lost from the rented housing sector in Scotland. This represented nearly 4,000 modern energy efficient homes that may now not appear in the Scottish rented sector at all. (Briefing note attached).
A £1 billion plan designed to address the housing crisis was halted because of this legislation. Lord Haughey has halted a £1 billion plan to address the housing crisis by building 11,000 affordable homes due to the freeze on council rents. Haughey blamed Patrick Harvie for this by saying: ‘Patrick Harvie’s rent freeze is a big part of my decision [to halt the project].’ (The Times, 10 October 2022, link).