A UK charity recently warned that a vast shortage of affordable homes in Scotland, combined with stagnant wages and welfare reforms, is driving more and more people towards homelessness.
An estimated £87m of the funds allotted to housing went unspent last year. This includes £36m of infrastructure loans and £24m of Help to Buy financing that would-be homeowners did not claim.
The Scottish government claimed that any implication that the cash surplus was due to low levels of new home spending was completely untrue. However, Labour finance representative Jackie Baillie still decried the situation as unacceptable. The term she used was “disgraceful”.
Ms. Baillie added that the country’s world-renowned homelessness legislation was not being properly applied. To still have millions of pounds in new build spending underused was, for the SNP government, a dereliction of duty.
A careful analysis of the 2016-17 budget reveals that £34m of the underspend consists of receipts from the sale of Scottish Government-funded properties or land. Another £36m belonged to the Infrastructure Loan Fund, which finances projects such as access roads for new housing developments.