Glasgow declares housing emergency amid 'unprecedented pressures'

It comes after Edinburgh declared a crisis earlier this month.

Glasgow declares housing emergency amid ‘unprecedented pressures’ iStock

Glasgow has declared a housing emergency amid “unprecedented pressures”.

It comes after a decision by the Home Office to speed up thousands of asylum claims by the end of the year, which the council said could cost more than £53m.

Councillors met on Thursday morning to vote on a motion warning the UK Government’s decision to send up to 2,500 people to the city could spark a homelessness crisis.

Glasgow City Council said the plans could prompt thousands of homeless applications over the next two months and cost the city’s “already stretched” homelessness service more than £53m.

The UK Government confirmed it will not be providing funding to councils to help manage the costs.

Councillor Allan Casey, convener for workforce, homelessness and addiction services, said there was no doubt the pressures Glasgow was facing constitute an emergency.

“We agree with partners that we urgently need resources to help us deal with these added pressures,” he said.

“We also need the UK Government to pause their unconscionable asylum-batching decision, which is already increasing homelessness and destitution, until they work with us to put a proper plan in place and commit to fully funding their decision.

“As our report outlines, referrals from Mears, the company which currently provides accommodation for those awaiting asylum decisions here in Glasgow, have doubled in recent months.

“The city is experiencing an overwhelming increase in people presenting as rough sleepers as well as a significant rise in individuals, from elsewhere in the UK, seeking assistance here in Glasgow.”

It comes after statistics released on Tuesday that showed 244 people had died while homeless in Scotland in 2022.

The number represents a significant increase from 2017 when 164 people died.

Glasgow and Edinburgh – which has already declared a housing emergency – were the two worst areas for such deaths.

On Tuesday, it was also revealed that private rents in Glasgow had soared by 22% in a single year to more than £1,000 a month – the highest rise anywhere in Scotland.

Previously, Scottish housing minister Paul McLennan said: “The recent decision by the Home Office to fast track the asylum backlog is poorly thought out and has left local authorities unable to plan – putting many people at risk of rough sleeping and destitution.

“Migration and refugees minister Emma Roddick has written to the UK Government to ask it to bring forward funding for local authorities to manage this pressure.

“The housing sector across the UK was already feeling the impact of sky-high interest rates and inflation caused by the mini-budget and Brexit.

“Despite that, since 2007 Scotland has led the UK in housing with 123,985 affordable homes delivered since 2007, including over 87,000 for social rent. We are making available £3.5 billion over this parliamentary term to support delivery of 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, 70% of which will be for social rent.

“I have regularly met with representatives from Scotland’s local authorities and have actively engaged with them to find solutions to help address housing pressures in their area.”

A UK government spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring asylum claims are considered without unnecessary delays.

“Once someone is informed that their asylum claim has been granted, they get at least 28 days notice to move on from their asylum accommodation.

“Support is offered to newly recognised refugees by Migrant Help and their partners, which includes advice on how to access Universal Credit, the labour market and where to get assistance with housing.

“We are working with local authorities to help communities manage the impact of asylum decisions as the legacy backlog reduces.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in