SCOTTISH Greens MSP Andy Wightman had a big campaigning win this week - working with the Living Rent tenants union to force the Scottish Government into a proper legal ban on evictions over the midwinter period.

This u-turn is hugely welcome and clearly shows the vital role of tenants unions to press collectively for change. More power to them.

Covid has exposed how precarious many people’s lives are, especially those working in sectors like retail and hospitality, where low pay and casual contracts are the norm.

Many are young adults experiencing their second ‘once-in-a-generation’ economic crisis before they turn 30, and many are living in the private rented sector - with limited prospects of getting out of it. The Council’s own housing strategy admits that the explosion in buy-to-let and self catering has gouged-out huge chunks of first-time buyer properties, pushing prices for those that remain to silly levels. Trapped, they are then powerless against rent hikes - and for many, those have been eye-watering.

New data from the Scottish Government shows that rents in Glasgow have risen sharply every year since 2010. The average monthly rent for a 2 bed property is now £794 - up more than 40% in ten years, almost double the rate of inflation over the same period.

The Scottish Government’s attempt at rent controls - allowing councils to ask their permission to establish local Rent Pressure Zones - has failed. Councillors in Glasgow agreed to work towards creating these zones back in 2017, but that hasn’t been possible because the data the Council needs to get agreement from Holyrood simply isn’t available.

This all means high housing costs are trapping more people in poverty. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reports that the number of people in the private-rented sector who are in poverty has tripled over the last decade - and that’s before the impact of the pandemic has been fully felt.

That’s why Scottish Greens councillors will ask Glasgow City Council to declare a rent crisis when it meets next week.

Looking at the evidence, we think this is the only conclusion that can be reached - but the SNP could team up with the Tories to block this. So we’re calling on people to contact their local councillors urging them to back our call.

Our motion also argues that tenants and their unions must lead the change that’s needed - and that the change must be led from Glasgow.

Right now, the SNP keeps hoarding power in Holyrood, when we could be doing so much more, with cross-party action, here in Glasgow.

We only need to look at other cities for how that can be done. Glasgow has just agreed to establish new international city partnerships. These are meant to be about sharing policy innovation rather than traditional twin city relationships. In one of these cities, Berlin (where the Greens happen to be in Government), the authorities have just decided to deal with similar issues facing Glasgow by freezing private rents for 5 years and introducing a maximum rent cap.

So, it can be done. There’s no need for Glasgow’s renters to keep paying more, while getting less protection than our European neighbours. To make it happen, the SNP will need to take a lesson from Berlin, and stand up for Glasgow.