Joe has expressed his disappointed that a “reasonable amendment in support of rent controls” was rejected by the SNP and Conservatives on North Ayrshire Council last week.
he SNP had brought forward a motion on Shelter’s ‘Make Renting Right’ campaign. Having spent the summer campaigning on housing, and having outlined his support for rent controls on numerous occasions, Joe used the fact there was a debate on the private rented sector to move his amendment. In doing so he didn't propose to amend any of the original motions text but simply strengthen it to ask North Ayrshire Council to explicitly support rent controls. That being the case the amendment retained support for Shelter’s campaign.
The SNP used many excuses for not supporting the amendment but during the debate Joe rebutted each one.
After the meeting Joe said;
“Over recent months I have been campaigning on housing and I quickly concluded that one step we had to take to make our housing system fairer was to introduce rent controls in the private rented sector.”
“The private rented sector has rocketed in size in recent years and now provides housing to over 6000 families in North Ayrshire. Over the same period poverty in the sector has more than doubled and that is inexplicably linked to rising rents.”
“At the same time I have exposed that some private landlords are raking in public money through Housing Benefit, with one private landlord receiving over £145,000 in Housing Benefit in one year alone.”
“All this evidence suggests that rent controls are required to bring down rents and reduce poverty in the sector and that's why I have been supporting the Living Rent campaign.”
“I am really disappointed that the SNP decided to side with the Tory Councillor and voted down my reasonable amendment in support of rent controls.. SNP Councillors made the excuse that my amendment was tabled on the day, but they do the same regularly with Labour motions. The reality is that they were probably more unhappy that they didn't have the chance to ask SNP HQ for direction on which way to vote, after all we all know that dissent is not welcome in the SNP and policy, even at a local level, is set in Edinburgh and passed down. That probably explains why they asked for the amendment to be withdrawn and re-tabled for six weeks time but what can possibly change in the debate for or against rent controls in that time? You are either for or against them and on Wednesday SNP Councillors decided they were against them.”