Scotland on verge of a housing crisis


The Scottish government is set to pass a motion outlining a national housing emergency in a debate

Scotland is on the verge of declaring a housing crisis, with estate agent’s body Propertymark, adding that the nation is “at a pivotal moment”.

The Scottish government is set to pass a motion outlining a national housing emergency in a debate later today.

The government is expected to blame a combination of factors, including a decade of UK government austerity, surging inflation and a rising cost of living, labour shortages linked to Brexit, and a freeze to local housing allowance rates.

The Scottish National Party earlier voted against a Labour motion declaring a housing emergency in November, but the opposition party is likely to force a vote on Wednesday.

Last week, John Swinney was appointed Scotland’s new first minister.

Swinney said he would prioritise housing, having also blamed Westminster for cuts to Scotland’s housing budget days before becoming the country’s first minister.

Propertymark head of policy and campaigns Timothy Douglas says: There needs to be immediate and practical action to de-escalate the issue.

Douglas points out that the housing supply has not kept pace with demand for many years and believes this has contributed to higher costs for all consumers and a “near-unworkable situation for many agents and their landlords”.

He says: We are also witnessing a disturbing number of local authorities placed under unfeasible pressure to provide temporary accommodation with a system that is now at absolute breaking point.

The Housing Bill provides an ideal opportunity to address the issues local authorities face, tackle affordability of housing costs through growing supply and implement a tax regime that incentivises landlords and lets people buy a home of their own, he added.

Scottish Association of Landlords chief executive John Blackwood says: Although a little late, it is welcome that the Scottish Government is finally recognising that Scotland is facing a housing emergency.

He said: What is important is not to focus on blame and recriminations but to get all parties, both political and from across the housing sector, to come together to create a long-term plan that is action focused and outcome driven to solve the housing shortages we face.

We need to see housing policies that are based on fact rather than ideology, on results rather than politics, he said.

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