Public invited to question Dundee West candidates at housing hustings

Bruce Forbes
Bruce Forbes

The candidates for the five main parties in Dundee West will gather for a public debate on social housing and related issues next week in an event co-hosted by Angus Housing Association and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA).

Members of the public are invited to come along to the free hustings event on Tuesday 28 April to question the candidates.

The theme of the hustings is ‘housing perspectives on additional powers for Scotland’ and the candidates will be challenged about their plans to improve social housing in Dundee and Scotland and how their parties would ensure that the new powers for Scotland will tackle the housing crisis. The debate will cover a wide range of issues from Universal Credit and housing supply to welfare reform, food banks and the Right to Buy.

The hustings will be held from 6:30-8:30pm at the D’Arcy Thomson lecture theatre at the University of Dundee.

Bruce Forbes, director of Angus Housing Association, who will co-host the event, said: “In Scotland in the 21st Century - despite all the efforts of the last 100 years of social housing provision - we still have the disgraceful stain on our nation of homelessness and children being without a secure home to live in. While housing policy is now devolved to the Scottish Parliament, this only relates to the funding of new provision. How much, of their ever diminishing low incomes, that the poorest in our society have to pay in housing costs remains reserved to Westminster.

“The consequences of this, in recent years, have been another stain on our society, as more and more families have to rely on food banks to feed their children, as they are forced to choose between paying the rent or feeding their families. We need to make every candidate that is seeking to be elected to Westminster for Dundee West see that these are the real housing issues that many of their prospective constituents need to have addressed by the MP they elect.”

Mary Taylor, chief executive of the SFHA, said: “The devolution of further powers to Scotland will have a significant impact on the housing system, landlords and tenants, people who rely on welfare and businesses and organisations that provide services. The main parties have committed to passing a bill on new powers for Scotland, after the election, but they are making different promises about the detail of how they will deliver these powers.

“This hustings event will provide an important opportunity for people to question the candidates on the key areas of concern for the housing sector – welfare reform, energy and fuel poverty, fiscal powers and intergovernmental working. I encourage anyone with an interest in housing issues – whether you work in housings or are a tenant or work in a related field - to join us for the hustings.”

The debate will be chaired by political commentator and former Political Editor of The Scotsman, Hamish Macdonell. The five main parties in Scotland have been invited to put forward their candidates for Dundee West.

The candidates attending are:

  • Scottish Labour Party – Michael Marra
  • Scottish National Party – Chris Law
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats - Daniel Coleman
  • Scottish Conservative Party – Nicola Ross
  • Scottish Green Party – Pauline Hinchion
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