The Scottish government has pledged to provide £10 million in grant funding to support people who have fallen into rent arrears as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Evidence has shown that many thousands of individuals and families across Scotland have been left unable to pay their rent in recent months because of Covid-related financial difficulties.
Tenants have been legally protected from eviction by emergency coronavirus legislation but many people are nonetheless feeling massive pressure to repay their rental arrears.
Announcing the allocation of £10 million in extra grant funding for struggling renters, deputy first minister John Swinney said the aim is to have the funding made available later this year.
“The Scottish government has taken action from the outset to support tenants during the pandemic,” he said in a statement.
“I’m delighted to announce today that we will go even further by committing to introduce a new £10 million grant fund to support tenants who have fallen into rent arrears as a direct result of the pandemic.”
Nina Ballantyne, a spokesperson for Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), welcomed the plan to provide some further financial support to Scottish renters and suggested it would provide some reassurance to people currently fearing eviction.
“Our evidence has shown consistently that people were still falling through the gaps, with rent arrears mounting up through factors completely out of their control,” Ms Ballantyne said.
“It’s been a hard time for so many people, and the threat of eviction hanging over your head will have only made things harder.
“Establishing a grant like the one…will give people the hope and the means to get through the pandemic without losing their home.”
Homelessness organisations have also welcomed the promise of extra funding to support struggling renters, including Homeless Network Scotland, which sent out a tweet to say: “Debt Spirals. This new £10m fund announced by @johnswinney can help prevent that with grants instead of loans and give people hardest hit by the pandemic a fighting chance.”
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