HAVING a place to live and call your own is a basic human right which most of us take for granted. However, for ever-growing numbers of people in Scotland, this right is far from reality.

Homelessness is at a record high, rents and mortgages are spiralling, and housebuilding has plummeted. Around 245,000 people in Scotland are currently on a waiting list for a social rented home, but only just over 26,000 annual allocations were made in 2022/23; 15,000 are in temporary accommodation, including 8,000 children – a record high.

This shortage of social housing is now a full-blown emergency. Over recent months, several councils have declared local housing emergencies, while others are close to crisis point.

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Last November, Labour brought a motion to the Scottish Parliament calling for a housing emergency to be declared. This would have ensured the Scottish Government could not ignore the calls for action, but SNP and Green MSPs combined to vote down the motion.

The housing and homelessness sector has been united in urging the Scottish Government to use every tool available to tackle the growing crisis. However, the SNP-Green Government is cutting its affordable housing programme by £205m for 2024/25, a reduction of 26 per cent. It has now emerged that the Government’s target of delivering 110,000 affordable homes by 2032 is at risk and the timetable for delivery will be reviewed.

The cuts set to be inflicted on social housing will mean those on housing waiting lists will suffer for longer. It will exacerbate housing poverty and increase the intense pressure councils and other social housing providers are experiencing.

This out-of-touch Government is in denial about the housing emergency. We need urgent action to drive down rents, help people buy homes and afford mortgages, and boost housebuilding.