Scottish Govt urged to act on “housing crisis”
The group, lead by former Auditor General Robert Black, is calling for radical action from ministers to help deal with poverty and inequality.
The report concludes that there is a “growing housing crisis”.
It finds that over 60,000 households across Scotland – many with children – live in overcrowded conditions. More than 150,500 households are on a waiting list for a home of their own, while in the private sector house prices have far outstripped the rate of inflation.
It sets out 47 recommendations with the aim of improving the situation in Scotland.
Mr Black said today: “This report is about the central importance of everyone in Scotland having a safe, secure and suitable home which allows each and every one of us to live fulfilling lives and achieve our potential.
“We are a long way short of this.”
He added: “With an averagely priced house now costing about five times the average annual income, owning your own home is becoming an unachievable pipedream for many people in Scotland, especially young adults and families.”
The Commission on Housing and Wellbeing was established two years ago by the charity Shelter.
But Scottish Government Communities secretary Alex Neil played down claims of a “crisis”.
He said: “It would be in crisis if we weren’t taking the action that we are taking, and indeed planning a step change in many of the areas Robert Black has identified.
“This is a major report but let’s get it in perspective.
“We have made substantial progress in housing over the last eight years.
“Over the period of this parliament we will have built 30,000 new social houses in Scotland, and that is an unprecedented record since devolution began.”
Anne Jarvie, former Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland and member of the Commission, said problems with housing lead to long-term health problems.
She said: “Having to live in cold, damp and completely unsuitable properties or not having a permanent home risks the long-term physical and mental health and wellbeing of many people, particularly children.
“By acting now we can help to end this inequality and create an environment where current and future generations in Scotland can prosper and flourish.”