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21 May, 2021 Open access

Less than 5 per cent of £10 million Covid-19 tenant hardship loan fund in Scotland has been allocated since its launch in December 2020

Responding to an urgent question in Holyrood, Covid Recovery Secretary says government will retain an open mind about what more can be done to support renters

Less than 5 per cent of the £10 million Covid-19 tenant hardship loan fund has been allocated since the launch of the fund in December 2020, Covid Recovery Cabinet Secretary John Swinney has told MSPs.

Responding to an urgent question in Holyrood yesterday - on whether plans to protect private tenants from eviction while Covid-19 restrictions remain in place should be extended to include renters in level 2 areas as well as levels 3 and 4, and a grant fund be introduced to help tenants who are facing eviction - newly appointed Covid Recovery Minister John Swinney said -

‘As part of a suite of financial measures to support tenants, we launched a tenant hardship loan fund, which had £10 million allocated to it. As at 17 May, 145 loan awards had been made, with a total value of just more than £472,000, so there is existing capacity to support individuals, should it be required. Of course, that is in addition to the £5 million of extra funding that was made available to local authorities to provide discretionary housing payments for those needing help with their housing costs.’

In addition, Mr Swinney confirmed that further support may be considered if circumstances dictate -

‘There are a number of existing provisions, through the discretionary housing payment fund, that can support individuals … but I stress that the government will retain an open mind, because clearly none of us is certain about the degree of hardship that is likely to emerge. We will have to address that when it presents itself.’

Mr Swinney's response to the question on future support for renters is available from parliament.scot