Rents frozen until spring
Age Scotland has welcomed the first minister's rent freeze for private and socially rented homes as older tenants in Scotland struggle to cope with the cost of living crisis.
Freezing rents until the spring and banning evictions over winter will give some reassurance to the hundreds of thousands of older renters who find themselves faced with soaring energy bills and the rising cost of essentials, including food.
Adam Stachura, head of policy and communications at Age Scotland, said: "Older people on low incomes in Scotland are facing one of the worst cost of living crisis in memory. For the growing number of older people living in rented accommodation today's announcement is at least one less thing for them to worry about over winter.
"Many of the older people who live in socially rented homes in Scotland are in some of the country's most economically deprived areas, and we know that they are terrified about their rocketing energy bills. Older people are telling us they will cut back on buying food, skip meals or heat just one room of their house to be able to pay their bills. It's not unacceptable in 21st century Scotland.
"Age Scotland would like to have seen more from the Scottish Government about making sure older people are claiming every penny that they are entitled to, supporting our calls to the First Minster for a national benefits uptake campaign. This is a missing part of a plan to try to mitigate against the devastating impact of the cost of living crisis.
"Hundreds of millions of pounds are missing from the pockets of the lowest income older people, and unless there is greater awareness of the benefits available to them - and they are helped to access them - there are going to be tragic consequences during this bleak winter.”
The plans were part of the first minister's annual programme for government speech, which comes at the start of each new year at Holyrood.
She said the legislative programme was deliberately focused on the cost-of-living crisis, which she said "poses a danger not just to livelihoods but to lives".
Sturgeon called for action from UK ministers "on a scale similar to the Covid response", but said her government would also take further steps to "strengthen the emergency safety net for those struggling to pay bills".