MSPs urge government to put seven-day limit on homeless B&B use

In a week where the Scottish Government prepares to publish its action plan on tackling homelessness, a cross-party group of MSPs has called for the introduction of a seven-day limit for B&B use as temporary accommodation.

In a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the MSPs suggest changing the law so that homeless people are moved on into more settled housing after one week.

A report by homelessness charity Crisis indicated that 84% of 74 people stuck living in B&Bs, hotels or unsupported hostels felt isolated by their living situation.

Nearly half of the respondents reported that they had no access to cooking facilities.

The joint statement was signed by Andy Wightman (Green Party), Pauline McNeill (Scottish Labour), Alex Cole-Hamilton (Scottish Liberal Democrats) and Graham Simpson (Scottish Conservatives).

The statement read: “To end homelessness, we need a bold approach. We believe that legislating to place a time limit of seven days for the period someone is placed in unstable temporary accommodation (UTA) will demonstrate to the Scottish people we are serious about achieving this goal for all homeless people.

“The Scottish Government must maintain the momentum to uphold Scotland’s place as a world-leader in tackling the injustice of homelessness.

“We therefore ask the First Minister to prioritise this change in the law in the upcoming Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan.”

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “Living in limbo in unsuitable emergency accommodation prevents people from moving on with their lives.

“It is heartening that this has been recognised across the political divide and I welcome this cross-party approach to call for the issue to be tackled urgently.”

The Scottish Government is expected to set out a five-year programme, in partnership with local authorities and others, to address the issue of temporary accommodation.

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