The Scottish Liberal Democrats have pledged to build 60,000 affordable homes, including 40,000 for social rent in a bid to address homelessness in Scotland.
Leader Willie Rennie on Thursday highlighted the party’s plans as part of a package that he says is designed to win over SNP voters disappointed with the government’s record on domestic politics.
The Lib Dems plan 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.
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.”
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.”