50,000 Glasgow homes ‘too small for their occupants’

17 per cent of Glasgow's homes are overcrowded, according to new census data. Picture: TSPL
17 per cent of Glasgow's homes are overcrowded, according to new census data. Picture: TSPL
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ALMOST a fifth of households in Glasgow are overcrowded, with about 50,000 homes in the city at least one room short for the people living there, according to the latest census.

• 17% of homes in Glasgow are overcrowded

• 4.2 is the average number of rooms in a Glasgow home

• 5 is the average number of rooms in a Scottish home

• 5.7 is the average number of rooms in Aberdeenshire and Western Isles homes

A growing east-west split is emerging with Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee all enjoying roomier homes than the rest of the country as a whole.

The last decade has seen the number of homes which are overcrowded across Scotland fall by about 50,000 to about 214,000 in 2011, the latest census results have shown.

However, the level in Glasgow still stands at about 17 per cent – compared with 9 per cent across the rest of the country.

John Dickie, of the Child Poverty Action Group, said there was an issue about children being brought up in overcrowded in housing.

“It can have a bad impact on their education their health and well-being and reinforce the damage that inadequate income creates for families,” he said.

“We need to ensure that all our children are being brought up in good quality housing that gives them and their families space and enables them to do homework, have time to themselves and have friends around.”

Modern Scots are living in relative luxury compared with conditions 150 years ago.

Two people were sharing every room in a home, the 1861 census shows, compared with a current average of two rooms for every person. Glasgow also has the smallest homes in Scotland, with an average of 4.2 rooms each, well below the national average of five rooms per house.

The roomiest homes in Scotland are to be found in Aberdeenshire and the Western Isles, which enjoy an average of 5.7 rooms. Houses are getting slightly bigger in Scotland, with the average having gone up over the past decade from 4.8 rooms per home.

There are also more than 100,000 homes lying empty across Scotland, according to the latest census figures – accounting for about 4 per cent of 2.5 million homes. About two thirds of these homes (64 per cent) were simply vacant, which includes new build homes or other accommodation awaiting other occupants, with about one third (36 per cent) classed as second or holiday homes.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, which hosts the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership funded by the Scottish Government, said: “Properties lying empty for months and years is wasteful and they can be a blight on their community. Bringing empty homes back into use contributes to local communities positively on a number of levels – in particular through housing supply, regeneration, supporting rural communities and safety.

“At a time when there is a chronic shortage of affordable homes across Scotland, bringing private empty homes back on the market is part of the solution. Local authorities now have a number of tools at their disposal to work with owners to help them transform empty properties into much-needed homes.

“The Scottish Government has recognised this issue and worked hard to support Shelter Scotland, the Empty Homes Partnership and local authorities.”

The second home issue is particularly acute on the popular picturesque west coast areas, where holiday and second homes are common.

Argyll and Bute which has the highest number of empty properties in Scotland, including 4,000 second or holiday homes. The Western Isles and Highland are next highest.