Election: Lib Dems propose stricter homelessness duties on councils

Election: Lib Dems propose stricter homelessness duties on councils

Willie Rennie

The Scottish Liberal Democrats plan to bring forward new legislation that will “strengthen the duties on public bodies to prevent homelessness” and provide pathways to link suitable jobs and training to housing.

Party leader Willie Rennie said the rate of homeless deaths is three times higher in Scotland than the rest of the UK as pledged legislation to impose stronger duties on public bodies to address the problem.

He also said the Lib Dems would work to being an end to rough sleeping and homelessness by providing more housing and support services as well as new “pathways” for young homeless people to housing in addition to jobs and training.

A government under the party would also build 60,000 new affordable homes, including 40,000 for social rent.

Mr Rennie said: “Whether it’s living on the streets, sofa-surfing or shuttling between temporary accommodation, these situations take a huge toll on people’s mental and physical health. It also exerts a huge toll on children’s education and development. It stops people getting on in life.

“Homelessness in Scotland and across the UK has long been a national scandal. The work that was done at the outset of the crisis was striking, but it also raised questions about why interventions on this scale couldn’t have been done before.

“Many nationalist voters that I speak to have seen doubts creep in over the way that the government finds time for new independence legislation but not for cracking down on the scourge of homelessness.”

Mr Rennie also said the post-Covid recovery period was a chance to “do things differently”.

He added: “I want to deliver new homes and an end to homelessness and rough sleeping through new prevention legislation and by taking forward the Housing First and Rapid Rehousing principles.

“However that opportunity will slip away if we get a nationalist majority who will spend the next five years arguing about independence. “I want to win over new voters to the Scottish Liberal Democrats who can help us to put recovery first.”

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