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Calls for radical solution to Scottish housing crisis

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Scotland urgently needs new policies to help tackle a crisis in the housing market, the nation’s Commission on Housing and Wellbeing.

The commission was established two years ago by charity Shelter to examine the state of housing in Scotland.

Its latest report suggests the current crisis will continue to get worse unless the number of homes built is dramatically increased.

Around 15,500 homes were constructed in Scotland during 2013-14, government figures report. But the commission says the number of houses needed is more than 23,000.

Chairman Robert Black, the former auditor-general for Scotland, told the BBC: “There are some stark statistics in the report about numbers of households on the waiting list, which is more than 150,000.

“More and more families are living on short-term tenancies in the private rented sector, so we think there’s a real issue.”

He described the increase in homes as ‘modest’.

Other findings from the report suggest more than 150,000 households are waiting for social housing and more than 60,000 households are ‘overcrowded’.

Half of all housing in Scotland is said to fall short of official standards.

Social justice secretary Alex Neil MSP said housing was vitally important for the future of the country.

“Housing is at the heart of the Scottish government’s ambitions to create a fairer and more prosperous country, and it is our aim that everyone should have a safe, warm home which suits their needs and they can afford,” he said.

“Access to good quality housing is a vital part of this government’s drive to secure economic growth, promote social justice, strengthen communities and tackle inequality.”

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