Claim Scottish Government is spending £3bn to subsidise landlords is False 7

Claim Scottish Government is spending £3bn to subsidise landlords is False

Politicians of all parties are keen to be seen to be taking measures to tackle the cost of living crisis. 

On Wednesday 13 July, The Scottish Government posted on its Facebook Page: “We know the rising cost of living is impacting many people, including renters. This year, we’re allocating £3bn to help mitigate the effects.

“We’re launching a campaign to help more private tenants exercise their rights. Landlords must follow strict legal processes to increase rent, and tenants can challenge any unfair rises.

“We are committed to going further, bringing in a robust system of rent controls to give long-lasting benefits to tenants.”

Scottish Labour MSP Mercedes Villalba took a screen grab of the Scottish Government Facebook post and captioned it with her own comment on Twitter.

Tweet from Mercedes Villalaba MSP
Tweet from Mercedes Villalba MSP

We know landlords are ripping off tenants, that’s why we’re spending £3 billion of public money to subsidise their profits. Thanks, The Scottish Government!

Mercedes Villalba MSP

So is the Scottish Government spending £3bn to subsidise the profits made by private landlords? 

Ferret Fact Service looked at this claim and found it False.

Claim Scottish Government is spending £3bn to subsidise landlords is False 8

Evidence

The Scottish Government Facebook post shared by Mercedes Villalba MSP actually links to a December 2021 web page where the Scottish Government sets out its plans for the private rented sector in Scotland. 

The proposals include moves to introduce rent controls and tougher penalties for landlords that illegally evict their tenants. The page does not mention £3bn worth of support for landlords. 

A more recent press release from the Scottish Government, published on 12 July, does itemise ‘almost £3bn to help households with rising prices.” 

The press release details spending that the government says will help householders with rising costs. The figures cited include forecast spending on social security benefits that the Scottish Government will provide, plus spending on a number of other areas. 

Some of the spending in this press release is related to mitigating housing and domestic heating costs. But aside from some of the £161m allocated to “heat, energy efficiency and fuel poverty measures,” that may be paid directly to some private sector landlords where they have vulnerable tenants, none of the cited money is targeted at landlords. 

However this falls a long way short of £3bn. 

It is also important to note that none of the measures itemised in the recent Scottish Government press release are targeted specifically at private sector tenants. 

So whilst it is likely that many private sector tenants will benefit from this spending, it is not the case that the £3bn could be considered a landlord subsidy –- or even an indirect one through private tenants –- as many people in other housing tenures will also benefit. 

Ferret Fact Service verdict: False

Mercedes Villalba is incorrect to suggest that the Scottish Government is providing a £3bn subsidy to private sector landlords. The £3bn figure comes from a press release put out by the Scottish Government that adds the cost of a raft of different measures that have been implemented by the Holyrood administration. None of them specifically target private sector landlords or tenants. 

This claim is false

Ferret Fact Service (FFS) is a non-partisan fact checker, and a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles. All the sources used in our checks are publicly available and the FFS fact-checking methodology can be viewed here. Want to suggest a fact check? Go to community.theferret.scot, email us at factcheck@theferret.scot or join our Facebook group.

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