UK Tory Government cuts are robbing Scotland’s councils' homelessness services of at least £20 million a year it has emerged, showing once again their callous approach to society’s most vulnerable people. The cuts were highlighted in the Convention of Local Authorities' (COSLA) response to the Local Government and Communities Committee’s call for evidence on their Inquiry into Homelessness.
The cuts 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 SNP Government is taking decisive action to support homeless people. In Scotland, homelessness applications are down in recent years due to the person-centred approach being taken. Additional investment of over £3,000 million to build at least 50,000 affordable homes over the course of this parliament and bring empty homes back into use will also help. Kenneth Gibson MSP, who serves on Holyrood’s Local Government and Communities Committee, said: “COSLA bring to light once again the very real damage that the UK Tory Government is causing. 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 of at least £20 million but likely to be significantly higher, will make it more difficult for councils from taking the necessary action to support those in need." COSLA submission to Local Government and Communities Committee call for evidence on homelessness can be found here.
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 around £22 million of homelessness funding to councils following the abolition of the temporary accommodation management Fee, is estimated to be at least £20 million per year and likely to be considerably higher.”