A top housing officer has warned that Scottish councils will be
severely stretched by new regulations on homelessness pushed
through last week.
Under the Homelessness (Scotland) Act 2003, councils will be
prevented from housing families with children or pregnant women in
bed and breakfast for more than 14 days. But Mark Turley, director
of housing at Edinburgh Council, said the immediate introduction of
the rule would lead to the neglect of other vulnerable client
A motion to defer its introduction was rejected by the Scottish
executive’s communities committee.
Turley is so disappointed that he and two other officers have
stepped down from the executive’s homeless monitoring group. They
and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities thought the plans
should have been postponed until April, giving councils longer to
“Councils are not ready as there hasn’t been adequate
preparation,” Turley said. “Instead of taking a strategic and
planned approach to implementing this, councils will be forced to
chase around ensuring they comply with it. We will be spending a
disproportionate amount of time implementing this policy.”
He said the decision threatened the understanding between
councils and the executive over Scotland’s long-term approach to
Cosla president Pat Waters said the legislation would not reduce
the overall number of people living in B&Bs and divert
attention away from “real homeless needs”.
The legislation places new definitions on the type of
accommodation homeless families should be offered. B&Bs would
be used in “emergency or exceptional circumstances” only.
Homelessness charity Shelter Scotland welcomed the change,
adding that half of all Scottish local authorities had already
stopped using B&Bs.