Scots on waiting lists for decades adding to housing crisis

Hundreds of Scots have been stuck on council waiting lists for decades prompting fresh concerns over the country’s housing crisis.

Housing minister Margaret Burgess said tackling homelessness is a priority. Picture: Alan Murray

Tens of thousands of children are also on waiting lists for council housing, according to figures obtained through Freedom of Information by the Liberal Democrats.

Many local authorities have people on waiting lists who have been there for up to 50 years, the figures reveal.

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In total, there were 138,164 applications on the councils’ registers, the figures showed.

The Lib Dems are now accusing the SNP government of “failing” the children on the lists and said it must “ramp up its efforts to tackle Scotland’s housing crisis”. Lib Dem housing spokesman Jim Hume said: “The lack of housing available for social rent in this country is a disgrace and ministers should be ashamed of themselves.

“The SNP has muddied the waters on housing by backtracking on election promises and Scots and their children are paying the price.”

More than 50,000 children aged 18 or under were on Scottish councils’ waiting lists at the start of October, according to the figures.

In total, 10,695 people under 18 presented as homeless on Christmas Day last year across the country – up on 9,665 in 2013.

Mr Hume added: “The Scottish Liberal Democrats believe children need the best start in life. This cannot be achieved if there is uncertainty about whether they’ll even have a roof over their heads.”

Housing minister Margaret Burgess said preventing people from experiencing homelessness is a priority for the Scottish Government.

““We are working closely with local authorities and across the housing sector to prevent homelessness and ensure everyone has access to a warm and safe place to stay,” Mrs Burgess added.