Housing

Scottish Labour blast SNP failure over social housing ‘crisis’

Scottish Labour has slammed the Scottish National Party over claims that they have underestimated the size of social housing waiting lists by around 30 per cent.

Social housing

Social housing is in ‘crisis’ claims Scottish Labour, in a swipe at the Scottish National Party.

The party insists that the SNP have underestimated demand for social housing by around 30 per cent, according to new figures released this week.

While the Scottish Government lists that there are 142,500 households on council waiting lists, Labour claims that the actual figure is around 200,000.

There is a housing crisis in Scotland… Scotland not only needs more homes, but more of the right homes

The party cite people who have transferred their stock to housing associations in Glasgow, Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, Western Isles, Scottish Borders and Inverclyde as missing from the government stats.

And Scottish Labour insists that the gap can be plugged by building 60,000 affordable homes, identified by homeless charity Shelter Scotland, before the next General Election in 2022.

Failure to meet this demand would amount to a ‘housing crisis’ north of the border, according to the party, who have vowed to ensure the work is carried out themselves.

The SNP government insist that they have invested £1.7 billion in affordable housing while in power, and have exceeded their target of building 30,000 affordable homes by 2016 – a mark they claim they hit in October 2015.

Figures released by the SNP also claim that they delivered 33,490 affordable homes including 5,992 council house completions by the end of the last parliamentary term.

But Labour insist that this figure falls short of hitting demand.

By comparison, the situation is also precarious in England with 1.4 million households waiting for a social home while Shelter also warns that that a million households are at risk of homelessness unless a freeze on housing benefit is lifted.

Kezia Dugdale

Scottish Labour are also calling on Nicola Sturgeon’s government to crackdown on energy being used in private rented homes, claiming that rising energy costs and poorly insulated homes have pushed tenants in the sector into ‘fuel poverty’.

The party has pledged to see all private sector properties reach an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least a C by 2025. Currently, it is only required that households reach a D rating under the EPC system.

It is hoped that the changes will slash bills for families living in rented homes as well as helping to combat climate change.

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: “It’s the foundation on which we raise our families, the bedrock of our dreams and aspirations. But for too many people, the housing pressures they face are getting worse, not better.

“There is a housing crisis in Scotland. With overcrowding and a lack of suitable accommodation for families and people with disabilities, Scotland not only needs more homes, but more of the right homes.”

Alex Salmond

Meanwhile, former SNP leader Alex Salmond fired shots at Scottish Labour and other one-time political rivals in a revealing and emotional interview in this week’s Big Issue. The former Scottish First Minister is currently starring in his sold-out Edinburgh Festival Fringe show Alex Salmond… Unleashed. Win tickets here.

Support the Big Issue

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