Dumbarton’s MSP has called on the Scottish Government to provide better support for renters amid a record rise in prices.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show rent in Scotland increased by 2.6 per cent in the 12 months to January 2022.

This is the biggest annual increase since records began, and is greater than the 2 per cent and 1.4 per cent rises in England and Wales respectively.

Jackie Baillie, who is also Scottish Labour’s deputy leader, said: “These stark rises will pile pressure on households already struggling with a cost of living crisis.

“Bills are soaring, the cost of food is going up and now rent is rising at record rates.

“After 15 years in power the SNP have no-one to blame but themselves for the dire state of Scotland’s housing market.”

Labour colleague Pauline McNeill lodged a private rent control Bill last term, but it did not progress.

The Scottish Government has since committed to rent controls but does not aim to introduce these until 2025.

Ms Baillie added: “Scottish Labour put forward plans for rent controls years ago but the SNP blocked them – and now we are seeing the consequences of that shameful decision.

“The SNP-Green government cannot drag their heels on rent controls while people are struggling to pay their bills. People cannot wait – this must be brought in as a priority.”

Tenants’ Rights Minister Patrick Harvie, who is from Dumbarton, said: “I know that many tenants are struggling financially. That is why we have provided £82m in housing support this year and £39m of additional funding to avoid evictions as a result of the pandemic.

“However, much more needs done which is why I launched our New Deal for Tenants consultation just before Christmas.

“That proposes a whole range of reforms – from better protection against eviction, more rights to personalise tenants’ homes and higher quality standards.

“It also sets out our clear commitment to introduce rent controls which are robust for the long term – more than any government in the UK has done for more than three decades.

“This package of reform puts Scotland significantly ahead of any other part of the UK in delivering a better deal for tenants.”