- 07 August 2017
Crucial support disappearing as Tory austerity continues to hit most vulnerable
Tory government cuts are robbing Scotland's councils homelessness services of at least £20 million a year, it has emerged – showing once again the Tories' callous approach to society's most vulnerable people.
The cuts were highlighted in COSLA's response to the Local Government and Communities Committee's call for evidence on Homelessness, and will have a devastating impact on homelessness services across Scotland – with COSLA's evidence suggesting that the shortfall in funding is likely to be "considerably higher" than the predicted £20 million.
The Scottish Government is taking decisive action to support those in homeless situations – with homelessness applications down in recent years due to the person-centred approach of the Scottish Government. Additional investment of over £3 billion to build at least 50,000 affordable homes and bring empty homes back into use will also help support those in need of housing.
Commenting, SNP MSP Bob Doris, who convenes Holyrood's Local Government Committee, said: "These comments from COSLA bring to light once again the very real damage that the UK Tory government is causing in Scotland's communities.
"We have seen the disastrous impact that their austerity agenda is having on the most vulnerable people across the country – closing job centres, capping social security payments and scrapping housing benefit for 18-21 year olds.
"The shortfall in funding caused by Tory cuts – at least £20 million but likely to be significantly higher – will only damage our communities more and prevent councils from taking the necessary action to support those in need.
"The Scottish Government has made every effort to support those in homeless situations – with homeless applications falling in recent years because of the Scottish Government's sensible and compassionate approach that puts the interests of people first.
"It is deeply disappointing to see that Tory government cuts are set to once again harm the progress that we are making."
COSLA submission to Local Government and Communities Committee call for evidence on homelessness: http://www.parliament.scot/S5_Local_Gov/Inquiries/20170614_Homelessness_COSLA.pdf
COSLA submission states: "Restrictions on Local Housing Allowance have added to pressures as have collection difficulties in areas where the full Universal Credit is rolling out. The shortfall in funding, even after distribution of c£22m homelessness funding to councils following the abolition of the TA management Fee, is estimated to be at least £20m per year and likely to be considerably higher."