Scottish Green cllr slams Edinburgh Council for homelessness law-breaking

Ben Wray

Capital city council sending homeless Scots to Bed and Breakfasts as far away as Motherwell and Livingston for extended periods

ONE of Edinburgh Council’s own members has slammed the capital authority for breaking the law on how long homeless people can be housed in temporary accommodation.

Councils are allowed to house homeless people in temporary accommodation for up to a week, but a shortage of council housing has mean’t some remaining longer in Bed and Breakfast style accommodation.

Following criticisms of the practice by Shelter Scotland, Edinburgh Green Cllr Susan Rae warned that the council’s attempts to find more permanent accommodation for homeless people was “heading in completely the wrong direction”.

She said: “One of the council’s big aims is to end the use of bed and breakfast hotels for homeless people. However, in the last six months alone, bed and breakfast use has soared by 14% to almost 120,000 bed-nights, some as far as away as Motherwell and Livingston.  This is not so much missing the target as heading in completely the wrong direction. 

“This comes at a human cost.  Bed and breakfast is the worst form of accommodation for homeless people and offers zero foundation on which to rebuild lives.  But it is also at huge financial cost: with temporary accommodation as a whole costing £17.5 million a year. That is £17.5m of a sticking plaster which could be funding new homes.

A CommonSpace special report on homelessness in Scotland