Edinburgh homelessness: Scottish Government is keeping back millions to tackle problem because of a bureaucratic technicality – John McLellan

Edinburgh has “a responsibility to show how we can provide safe and secure lives for all citizens”, wrote local SNP MSP Angus Robertson in these pages this week, and it’s hard to disagree.

Unlike Glasgow, Edinburgh will not be getting millions of pounds to pay for emergency homelessness support (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)
Unlike Glasgow, Edinburgh will not be getting millions of pounds to pay for emergency homelessness support (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

In an article highlighting the work of a homelessness charity, he pledged “to work with homelessness charities, the police and social services to further reduce the presence of homelessness in the city”.

All well and good, but not surprisingly his list didn’t include the Scottish Government in whose Cabinet he sits alongside the Local Government Secretary Shona Robison.

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Only last week Ms Robison confirmed Edinburgh would not be getting £9.3m for emergency homelessness support because, unlike Glasgow, the council hasn’t transferred its homelessness services to the joint NHS-council board responsible for health and social care.

“Edinburgh is currently unable to use funding provided to the Integrated Joint Board to tackle homelessness,” she wrote to MSP Miles Briggs.

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Edinburgh housing crisis: City is missing out on millions to tackle homelessness...
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“The battle to tackle homelessness in Edinburgh is a long and challenging one,” wrote Mr Robertson, which it certainly is when his own government keeps vital funds back from the city’s efforts to find everyone a decent home because of a bureaucratic technicality.

Worse, the flock of SNP cuckoos on the council and their Labour pals last week voted down an attempt to explore other ways of accessing the money without debate.

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After his observations about the council’s failures over bin hubs, Mr Robertson must wonder what the local party is playing at, but a word with his Cabinet colleague wouldn’t go amiss either.

John McLellan is a Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston

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