Over 54,000 Scots children on council house waiting lists

Jim Hume
Jim Hume

More than 54,000 children are “languishing” on council housing waiting lists due to a “disgraceful” lack of social homes across Scotland, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have said.

Figures obtained through Freedom of Information by the party revealed that 138,164 people, 54,244 of which were children, were on council waiting lists at the start of October.

The statistics revealed that many local authorities have people on waiting lists who have been there for up to 50 years.

Fife has the highest number of teenagers and children waiting for social housing in the country although other high population areas like Glasgow and Edinburgh are not included because they do not hold the data.

The Lib Dems accused the SNP of “failing” the children on the lists and said they must “ramp up their 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. The SNP have muddied the waters on housing by backtracking on election promises and Scots and their children are paying the price.”

The figures emerged after an earlier Freedom of Information request from the Lib Dems revealed there were 1000 more children without a permanent home in Scotland at Christmas in 2014 compared with the previous year.

In total, 10,695 people under 18 were presented as homeless on Christmas Day last year across the country – up on 9665 in 2013.

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.

“Last week we discovered 30,000 children have been homeless on Christmas Day over the past three years. When you put that figure with the tens of thousands of children currently on housing waiting lists, it paints a very bleak picture.”

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

She said: “We have committed an increase of £90 million of direct capital investment in affordable housing, including homes for social rent, to accelerate the housing supply programme as part of our pledge to deliver 50,000 affordable homes over the next five years.

“Against a challenging financial background we have exceeded our target to deliver 30,000 affordable homes during this parliament, backed by more than £1.7 billion of investment – including more than 20,000 for social rent.

“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.

“Council housing lists are falling in Scotland.

“There were 174,000 household applicants held on local authority or common housing register lists in March 2015, a 13 per cent decrease since 2007 when the figure was 199,000.”

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