Figures uncovered through a Freedom of Information request by the SNP, has revealed that there were 871 vacant Ministry of Defence (MoD) properties in Scotland last year. Across the UK, 10,661 MoD properties remained unoccupied.
Nationalist MSP Gordon MacDonald has renewed calls for the Ministry of Defence to use empty homes to house veterans.
Although some some of the properties are in need of modernisation, many are considered “surplus” and could be used as homes.
The Edinburgh Pentlands MSP said: “The MoD can ensure that they are making proper use of the homes they have at their disposal – and with almost 900 homes in Scotland currently sitting empty, it seems that they are failing to do so.
“The MoD has a duty of care to veterans and should do everything they can to help those who struggle and may find themselves homeless, especially during this challenging time.
“Allowing homeless veterans to live in these empty homes - many of which are perfectly suitable for use - on a temporary basis, before they move on to a permanent tenancy of their own, would be a good place to start.
The SNP manifesto contained a commitment to press the UK government to use vacant MoD homes to house homeless veterans.
Ms MacDonald added: “Action to bring this vacant housing into use for the public good is well overdue.
“It’s not right that those homes lie empty and it is in the gift of the UK government to put them to good use and support the SNP’s efforts to end homelessness.”
The number of empty military homes in Scotland in 2020, which have their upkeep or rent paid for by the taxpayer, was down from 1,087 in 2019 and 1,129 the year before.
A report by the Public Accounts committee 18 months ago described the MoD’s failure to reduce its empty housing stock as “scandalous” at time of national housing shortage.
In 1996, the Ministry of Defence sold off most of its service family estate to Annington Property Limited and agreed to rent it back for up to 200 years.