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Scottish Govt declares housing emergency

Scottish Govt declares housing emergency
Samantha Partington
Written By:
Samantha Partington

The Scottish government has declared during a Labour-led housing debate that the country is in the midst of a housing emergency.

Speaking at the debate in the Scottish Parliament, Paul McLennan, housing minister, said it was not just the Scottish Government that needed to play a part in fixing the housing emergency.

“The UK Government and the incoming UK Government need to play their part,” he said. “Inflationary pressures, the impacts of Brexit and wider market conditions have contributed to rising construction costs and workforce challenges. We will keep working to mitigate those effects, but the UK Government’s policies continue to shape the housing market and are having lasting impacts.”

McLennan also said high interest rates had impacted the whole sector.

The Scottish Government is calling on the UK Government to reverse its cut of almost 9% to Scotland’s capital budget, which Shirley-Anne Somerville, the cabinet secretary for social justice, said was taking £1.3bn away from their plans, “which inevitably brings challenges to all of us as we move forward to see what can be done about it,” she said.

‘Voters feel they are being taken for granted’

The declaration of a housing emergency follows the release of House of Commons Library research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats that found as many as 80,000 households are set to see their mortgages hiked by November this year. This amounts to an average of 374 households per day.

Christine Jardine MP, the Liberal Democrats’ Scottish affairs spokesperson, said: “These nightmare figures for families up and down Scotland show that Rishi Sunak’s claim that his plans are working just don’t match the reality for families.

“Mortgage costs are going up every day, and for thousands of families, that will mean sleepless nights, difficult decisions about how to make ends meet, and worse.

“Voters feel they are being taken for granted; we have seen that reflected time and again at local elections both sides of the border, and it feels as if the Prime Minister is just ignoring people’s pain.”

In March, it was reported that permanent rent control had been proposed in a Scottish housing bill.

Related: Housing in England and Wales unaffordable since 2002