Seventh local authority in Scotland declares housing emergency

South Lanarkshire joins Fife, Argyll and Bute, West Dunbartonshire, Edinburgh and Glasgow who have all previously declared housing emergencies.

South Lanarkshire Council declares housing emergency due to ‘heightened pressures’ iStock

A seventh local authority in Scotland has declared a housing emergency.

South Lanarkshire Council representatives voted in favour of a motion at its meeting on Thursday due to “heightened pressures” in housing and homelessness services across the area.

It comes after figures revealed that there has been a 28% increase in the number of people applying for assistance due to homelessness, a 38% increase in the number of people recorded as homeless – and a 101% increase in the backlog of urgent need homeless households awaiting housing.

The local authority joins Fife, Argyll and Bute, West Dunbartonshire, Scottish Borders, Edinburgh and Glasgow who have all previously declared housing emergencies.

The councils cited issues ranging from pressure on homelessness services, rising property prices, structural problems, and high levels of temporary accommodation.

Any declaration is intended as a signal to government that the current situation is not working and there needs to be intervention.

Proposed by councillor Davie McLachlan and seconded by councillor Margaret Cowie, a report confirming the motion read: “The Council agrees that, further to the report to the Executive Committee on May 8 on ‘Homelessness Pressures – Impact and Mitigation’ and heightened pressures on housing and homelessness services, a housing emergency be declared in South Lanarkshire.”

Councillors also passed motions calling on the new First Minister to deliver “fair funding” in support of a campaign on behalf of the local third sector.

The motion has called on central governments at Scottish and UK level to consider a full or partial restoration of ‘local connection’ within Scotland so that national housing targets can be met.

This would include the reversal of cuts to the Affordable Housing Supply Programme budget to ensure South Lanarkshire Council can deliver all 1,300 additional council homes set out in the Strategic Housing Investment Plan.

Housing Minister Paul McLennan said: “Tackling the housing emergency requires close partnership working. We are committed to working with councils and hearing more about their priorities for action, along with how issues in their areas could be addressed differently.

“Scotland has led the UK in housing by delivering more than 128,000 affordable homes since 2007. We are investing nearly £600 million in affordable housing this financial year, the majority of which will be for social rent.

“We remain focused on delivering 110,000 affordable homes by 2032 and to support that we have brought forward the review scheduled for 2026-27 to 2024, which will concentrate on deliverability. We are also working with the financial community in Scotland, and elsewhere, to boost private sector investment and help deliver more homes.”

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