SNP urged to take action over ‘scandal’ of children spending Christmas in temporary housing

SNP ministers have been urged to take action over the “scandal” of children spending Christmas stuck in temporary accommodation.

Scottish Labour said the number of households with children or pregnant women in temporary housing hit a 10-year high of 3,645 this year.

The figure has increased every year since 2014.

Meanwhile, the total has risen by 47 per cent between 2014 and this year.

Scottish Labour has raised concerns over the number of families in temporary accommodationScottish Labour has raised concerns over the number of families in temporary accommodation
Scottish Labour has raised concerns over the number of families in temporary accommodation
Read More
Total taxpayer cost of children rights' Bill referral hits £183k after UK Govern...
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Previous analysis by Labour showed families spend significantly longer in temporary accommodation than childless households, with average stays increasing year on year since 2017/18.

Statistics show there were 13,097 households in temporary accommodation as of March 31.

Scottish Labour's housing spokesman Mark Griffin accused the SNP of a “dereliction of duty”.

He said: “It is a scandal that so many children were stuck in temporary accommodation this Christmas.

“These children are being badly failed by the SNP, who have depressingly ignored the warning signs year after year.

“The number of families trapped in temporary accommodation has been climbing for a decade, but nothing has been done to reverse this.

“Leaving thousands of children in limbo for months on end will have a devastating impact on these children’s well-being, attainment and life chances.

“This is not a housing strategy, it is a total dereliction of duty that should shame the SNP.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Families must have the safe and secure housing they need, and children should never bear the burden of the failures of the SNP Government."

The Scottish Liberal Democrats previously urged the SNP to “grasp the nettle and get to work building thousands more social homes across Scotland”.

The party’s housing spokesman Paul McGarry, who was made homeless himself at 16, said: “Living without a secure home takes a huge toll on people’s mental and physical health. It also sets back children’s development in a way that can leave them worse off for life.

“The rapid work to house people at the start of the pandemic showed what can be done when the political will is there.

“The SNP have had 14 years in charge and they have barely made a dent.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Temporary accommodation can offer an important emergency safety net for anyone who finds themselves homeless, but we recognise that it should be a purely temporary measure, particularly for families with children.

“Local authorities share our ambition to ensure stays in temporary accommodation are short-term, and we will be working with them to achieve this.

"For some councils it can take a long time to acquire an appropriate property to match a household’s particular needs.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We are investing £53.5 million to support councils to prioritise settled accommodation for all as part of our aim that everyone has a warm, safe and affordable home.

“The best way to reduce the number of households in temporary accommodation is to prevent homelessness from happening in the first place.

"That is why we are consulting on plans for new duties for public bodies to prevent homelessness in Scotland.

“We have a target of delivering 110,000 more affordable homes by 2032, with at least 70 per cent for social rent, building on our record of delivering over 105,750 affordable homes since 2007.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.