Scotland politics

Thousands of children 'on council housing waiting lists'

House wall under construction

Tens of thousands of children are on waiting lists for council housing, figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats show.

The party has described the level of housing available for social rent in Scotland as a "disgrace".

The data was obtained through a Freedom of Information request.

The Scottish government said the overall number of homeless applications had fallen in recent years and preventing homelessness was a priority.

According to the data obtained by the Lib Dems, more than 50,000 youngsters under the age of 18 were on Scottish councils' waiting lists at the start of October.

Government 'failing children'

In total, there were 138,164 applications on the councils' registers.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats accused the SNP government of "failing" the children on the lists and said it must "ramp up its efforts to tackle Scotland's housing crisis".

Jim Hume MSP, the party's housing spokesman, said: "The lack of housing available for social rent in this country is a disgrace and ministers should be ashamed of themselves.

"The SNP has muddied the waters on housing by backtracking on election promises and Scots and their children are paying the price.

"The Scottish Liberal Democrats believe children need the best start in life. This cannot be achieved if there is uncertainty about whether they'll even have a roof over their heads."

Fall in homelessness

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said preventing people from experiencing homelessness was a priority for the Scottish government.

She said: "We have seen the overall number of homeless applications fall for six consecutive years, but it is too important an issue for complacency.

"For that reason we have committed an increase of £90m of direct capital investment in affordable housing, including homes for social rent, to accelerate the housing supply programme as part of our pledge to deliver 50,000 new affordable homes over the next five years.

"We are working closely with local authorities and across the housing sector to prevent homelessness and ensure everyone has access to a warm and safe place to stay."

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