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Scottish government to declare national housing emergency

The Scottish government is to declare a national housing emergency.

The announcement will come from the Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville during a Labour-led debate at Holyrood.

Ms Somerville is expected to blame UK government austerity and Brexit for the decision.

But UK ministers said that the Scottish government receives about 25% more funding from Whitehall than other parts of the UK.

The SNP previously voted against a Labour motion declaring a housing emergency in November.

Since then, with the end of a power-sharing deal with the Scottish Greens, the Scottish government lost its majority in Holyrood and faced potential defeat in the debate on the emergency this afternoon.

By changing position and conceding there is a housing emergency, ministers will avoid what could have been a difficult moment in parliament

Last year, Argyll and Bute, City of Edinburgh and Glasgow City councils all declared housing emergencies.

Fife Council made the same move in March followed by West Dunbartonshire earlier this month.

Declaring an emergency is a signal to government that the current situation is not working and there needs to be intervention.

The councils cited issues ranging from pressure on homelessness services, rising property prices and high levels of temporary accommodation.

By declaring an emergency, the Scottish government is formally recognising the housing problem and calling for cuts to its capital budget to be reversed.

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