Labour has accused the First Minister of failing to face up to the reality for the thousands of Scots in “generation rent” who are struggling to get on to the property ladder.
Kezia Dugdale said that since the Scottish Parliament was set up in 1999, there had been a threefold increase in the number of those aged 16-to-34 living in private rented homes, rising from 13% to 41%.
Scottish Labour plans to give first time buyers up to £3,000 towards their deposit if the party wins May’s Holyrood elections, and its leader Kezia Dugdale today challenged First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to set out what she would do.
Ms Sturgeon responded with a challenge of her own, calling on Labour to set out a target for affordable house building.
The SNP has pledged 50,000 affordable new properties, to be built over the next parliamentary term if it wins in May.
Ms Sturgeon said: “We’ll focus on building more houses, because it’s by building more houses you get the cost of houses down, and you let more people get them.”
But Scottish Labour leader Ms Dugdale told her there were “thousands of young people in Scotland paying high rents to private landlords rather than owning their own home”, describing them as “generation rent”.
She said the First Minister had “failed to face up to the reality of life for many people of my generation,” adding: “What the First Minister’s generation almost took for granted is now too often out of reach for people of my generation.”
Ms Dugdale pressed her on the issue at First Minister’s Questions, saying: “For many young Scots owning their own home is a key ambition, but for thousands of people from my generation it’s just a pipe dream.
“Thousands are stuck in a cycle from which there is little escape. They rent to save a deposit for their first home, but rents are so high people simply can’t put enough money aside.
“It means they end up paying those higher rents for years with no realistic prospect of buying.”
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