Some 80% of voters think Scotland is in the grip of a housing crisis as the Scottish Government faces fresh calls to reverse an almost £200m affordable housing cut ahead of today's debate on the Budget.

Deputy First Minister Shona Robison, who is also finance secretary, was met by a host of criticism from across the housing sector and from homeless charities when the spending reduction emerged in December.

Papers published alongside her statement revealed a cut of £196m in the Affordable Housing Supply Programme for 2024/25, a real-terms drop of 27%.

A YouGov poll, commissioned by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) found eight of 10 Scots believe the country is experiencing a housing crisis, with around the same proportion (79%) saying there are not enough homes.

Housing was ranked by voters as the third most important issue facing the country, behind the economy and the NHS and ahead of education (fourth) and Brexit (fifth).

Following the Budget announcement, the SFHA warned the housing crisis would get worse under the cuts.

While last month Cabinet Secretary for social justice Shirley-Anne Somerville confirmed the target to build 110,000 homes by 2032 was ‘at risk’.

Asked by SNP MSP Marie McNair how confident she was of delivering the target, Ms Somerville told Holyrood's social justice and social security committee: "We still have that target, but, as the Deputy First Minister said when she appeared before the committee, it is at risk."

Three local authorities - Glasgow, Edinburgh and Argyll and Bute - have already declared they are facing a housing emergency, and the SFHA say more look set to follow.

The poll found a higher percentage of people in those areas - some 87% (compared to 80% nationally) - thought there was a housing crisis.

Research published by Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and Save the Children last year showed that up to 60,000 people in Scotland are kept out of poverty each year because they live in a social home.

The SFHA said the results of the poll showed the scale of the crisis and again urged the Scottish Government to reverse its cut to affordable housing.

Sally Thomas, Chief Executive of the SFHA, said: “This new poll shows people across Scotland recognise the desperate lack of affordable housing – but the Scottish Government doesn’t seem to see the urgency.

“When nearly 10,000 children are growing up in temporary accommodation, nearly a quarter of a million people are on a waiting list for a social home – and eight out of ten people believe there’s a housing crisis – it is simply a baffling decision to slash its affordable housing budget.

“Safe, warm, affordable housing is a basic human right.  I would again urge Scottish Government to reverse this disastrous cut and redouble its efforts to deliver the homes we need."

The cut to affordable housing was also criticised in a report released last month by the Scottish Parliament’s finance and public administration committee.

The report by the cross party group, chaired by the SNP MSP Kenny Gibson, concluded: “The committee draws the Scottish Government’s attention to the significant concerns expressed by witnesses regarding its decision to cut the affordable housing budget in view of reductions to available capital. We seek further information on the impact of this decision on its target to build 110,000 homes by 2032.”

“We also ask the Scottish Government to demonstrate how this decision aligns with its own spending prioritisation criteria and whether it has fully assessed the potential impact on tackling poverty and growth.”

YouGov polled 1068 people aged over 16 from January 25 to 31.

Housing Minister Paul McLennan said: “The Scottish Government has led the UK in housing by delivering more than 126,000 affordable homes since 2007, over 89,000 of which were for social rent, including almost 24,000 council homes. We will invest £556 million in affordable housing in 2024-25, the majority of which will be for social rent.

“The UK Government failed to inflation-proof their capital budget, and this has resulted in nearly a 10% real terms cut in our UK capital funding between 2023-24 and 2027-28. This is on top of the disastrous impact Brexit has had on construction supply chain issues, labour shortages and the inflationary pressures driven by UK Government financial mismanagement.

“We remain focused on delivering 110,000 affordable homes by 2032 and to support that we will bring forward the review scheduled for 2026-27 to 2024, which will concentrate on deliverability. We are working with the financial community in Scotland, and elsewhere, to boost private sector investment and help deliver more homes.”