Labour call for action to end 'housing crisis'

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Scottish Labour MSP Mary Fee accused the Scottish government of a "lack of leadership" over "Scotland's housing crisis" during a debate on 4 December 2013.

Ms Fee said there had been a 29% real-terms reduction in the capital housing budget from 2008-09 to 2011-12 according to Audit Scotland and said the number of new homes built in 2012 was the lowest since the post-war era.

The Labour MSP called for a national housing plan which "must be comprehensive and ambitious" to address the housing crisis and the rise in homelessness since 2007.

"What we have is a Scottish government strategising for separation, not a government interested in the day to day running of Scotland."

"We need action now to solve our housing crisis, end homelessness and reduce waiting lists."

Ms Fee asked Housing Minister Margaret Burgess: "Is the minister saying that when Audit Scotland, Shelter and other organisations in Scotland say that housing in Scotland is in crisis, that they're wrong?"

Ms Burgess hit back with: "What I'm saying is that we are building houses, more than any other administration has built in this Scottish Parliament, given the economic downturn."

The minister said: "4,117 new council houses were built in the SNP administration, the last Labour-Liberal administration in their last four years built six."

She said the SNP had built 26,781 housing association houses, 15% more than the previous administration.

"This Scottish government and this minister is committed to delivering at least 30,000 affordable homes, of which at least 20,000 would be for social rent."

Scottish Green Party MSP Patrick Harvie welcomed aspects of the forthcoming Housing Bill but called for the inclusion of measures such as a mechanism for tenants to give feedback on landlords or letting agents; stronger security of tenure and to reintroduce some level of rent controls as "private rented prices are simply spiralling out of control".

The second part of the debate can be viewed below:

Labour housing debate 2

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