Eight out of ten Scots say country has a housing crisis, SFHA poll finds

Eight out of ten Scots say country has a housing crisis, SFHA poll finds

Sally Thomas

A new poll has revealed 80% of adults in Scotland say the country is currently experiencing a housing crisis as the Scottish Government faces increasing calls to reverse its huge cut to the affordable housing budget.

It comes as the Scottish Budget, which saw the Scottish Government announce a £196 million cut to the affordable housing budget, is to be debated in the Scottish Parliament.

According to a YouGov poll, commissioned by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), 80% say Scotland is in a housing crisis, with respondents also saying that housing is the third most important issue facing the country (27%).

The poll also found that 79% of those in Scotland think there is not currently enough housing that is affordable yet last week, cabinet secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville confirmed the target to build 110,000 homes by 2032 was ‘at risk’.

Eight out of ten Scots say country has a housing crisis, SFHA poll finds

Three councils have already declared they are facing a housing emergency, and more look set to follow. Research published by Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and Save the Children last year showed that up to 60,000 people in Scotland are kept out of poverty each year because they live in a social home.

The SFHA said the results of the poll showed the scale of the crisis and again urged the Scottish Government to reverse its cut to affordable housing.

Sally Thomas, chief executive of the SFHA, said: “This new poll shows people across Scotland recognise the desperate lack of affordable housing – but Scottish Government doesn’t seem to see the urgency.

“When nearly 10,000 children are growing up in temporary accommodation, nearly a quarter of a million people are on a waiting list for a social home – and eight out of ten people believe there’s a housing crisis – it is simply a baffling decision to slash its affordable housing budget.

Eight out of ten Scots say country has a housing crisis, SFHA poll finds

“Safe, warm, affordable housing is a basic human right. I would again urge Scottish Government to reverse this disastrous cut and redouble its efforts to deliver the homes we need.”

The cut to affordable housing was also criticised in a report released last month by the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Public Administration Committee.

The report concluded: “The Committee draws the Scottish Government’s attention to the significant concerns expressed by witnesses regarding its decision to cut the affordable housing budget in view of reductions to available capital. We seek further information on the impact of this decision on its target to build 110,000 homes by 2032.”

“We also ask the Scottish Government to demonstrate how this decision aligns with its own spending prioritisation criteria and whether it has fully assessed the potential impact on tackling poverty and growth.”

Nathan Emerson, CEO at Propertymark, added: “It is vital we promote frank conversation regarding housing demand across Scotland. We need sensible planning that considers demand for not just here and now but be constantly forward planning for at least 25 years ahead.

“Recent data from the Scottish Government’s Housing Statistics Report indicated that the number of all-sector newbuilds decreased between September 2022 and September 2023 – so great emphasis must be placed to ensure this does not ever become a long-term trend.

“We must acknowledge that safe, affordable housing is the base foundation for every community, there can be no room for error on achieving a robust supply of homes that firmly meets demand.”

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