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Highland MSP says the housing emergency is about more than just ‘building homes’

By Rachel Smart

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MSP Emma Roddick
MSP Emma Roddick

A Highland MSP has said the housing emergency declared by the Scottish government yesterday is about more than just ‘building homes’.

SNP MSP Emma Roddick highlighted the need to make sure existing homes are being used as houses, and that people can afford rents and mortgages.

She commented that many villages and settlements across the Highlands face depopulation, yet still don’t have homes available because these are being bought up as second homes or for short-term letting, pricing out local working-age people.

Speaking after yesterday’s debate, Emma said: “I have no issue with calling what we’re in a housing emergency - what really matters is what we do about it.

“It’s not just about building homes; it’s about making sure that the right homes are built in the right places and that they are accessible to those who need them most.

“We must ensure that people in insecure tenancies have access to financial support, know their rights, and are protected from unfair evictions.

“And normal working people need to be able to afford to live in the homes that already exist. We can’t keep letting every house in a tourism hotspot end up empty most of the year when we desperately need health and social care workers to move in and look after those who actually live here.

“Communities across my region are struggling to fill highly skilled vacancies which is stemming from this housing crisis and leading to a vicious cycle of depopulation.

“Housing is critical for the sustainability and growth of communities across the Highlands and Islands, and we must ensure that we are considering all the different drivers of lack of housing on the market; whether that’s for social rent, private rent, or purchase.”

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