U-turn by Scottish Government Blocks New Rights for Homeless People – Shelter Scotland Protests in Dunfermline

A major u-turn by the Scottish Government which would destroy new rights for homeless people has prompted Shelter Scotland to take to the streets of Dunfermline to campaign against the changes.

Dunfermline MSP Jim Tolson of the Liberal Democrats has proposed changes to the Housing Bill which would see Access to Support legislation for homeless people dropped.

Shelter Scotland will be in Dunfermline High Street from 10am Tuesday 2nd November urging local people to contact their MSP Jim Tolson and tell him to withdraw his wrecking amendment.

At a time when more Westminster cuts will make more people homeless Jim Tolson – backed by the Scottish Government and COSLA – wants MSPs to turn their back on vulnerable people in need of support.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity, says:

“If the Scottish Parliament passes Jim Tolson’s wrecking amendment it would represent a major u-turn on support for homeless people – an area where Scotland has been leading the world in its approach.

“Just three weeks ago, Jim Tolson was one of the MSPs who unanimously backed Access to Support in Parliament who have now seen fit to turn their back on homeless people, instead of grasping this hard-fought-for opportunity aimed at helping the most vulnerable in our society.

“The new amendment is based on an incompetent and inaccurate estimate of cost which aims to frighten ministers into backing it by saying it’s unaffordable. The fact is the cost of implementing Access to Support would be more than offset by the reduction in repeat homelessness which the legislation aims to tackle.

“The Scottish Parliament has the power to prevent homelessness so why would they want to protect councils who are failing to provide adequate support?  In effect, Jim Tolson’s amendment would protect failing councils who go out of their way not to support homeless people and kick in the teeth those local authorities who are already doing their best to provide the necessary support.

“If Jim Tolson doesn’t see sense and withdraw his amendment, we urge the Scottish Parliament to vote against it and act to protect the rights of homeless people in Scotland.”

The Access to Support amendment – unanimously supported at Stage 2 of the Bill just three weeks ago by MSPs, including Jim Tolson – strengthens the way in which local councils support families who are at risk of homelessness, the numbers of which are expected to increase.


Notes to Editors:

1. Shelter Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity. Shelter Scotland believes that everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.

2. Spokespeople are available for interview, telephone the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line number is available for broadcast interviews.

3. For more information about Shelter Scotland visit www.shelter.org.uk

4. Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/shelterinscotland

Twitter – http://twitter.com/shelterscotland


Contact: Neil Baldwin, Nicola Baxter
Phone: 0844 515 2442

Website: http://www.shelter.org.uk