Shona Robison has said restoring cuts she made to affordable housing will be her “number one priority” if Wednesday’s budget gives her more funding.

The deputy First Minister and finance secretary was speaking after the head of Scotland’s leading homelessness charity launched a savage attack on the SNP’s record.

Alison Watson, the director of Shelter Scotland, said Humza Yousaf had “no credibility” on tackling child poverty through building more affordable homes.

She also said the Scottish Government was “gaslighting” the country by maintaining it can still hit its target of 77,000 new social homes by 2023 despite a 26% budget cut next year.

“Housing has faced exceptional cuts. Policy commitments to address housing and homelessness aren’t being translated into action,” she told The Herald’s Neil Mackay.

READ MORE: 'Humza Yousaf has no credibility' says Shelter Scotland boss

Passed at Holyrood by SNP and Green MSPs last week, the Scottish budget for 2024/25 has cut almost £200 from the affordable housing budget.

An independent parliamentary analysis attributed £75m of the cut to a withdrawal of capital funding for councils and housing associations, a reduction of 27%.

The other element was a £121m cut in a form of loan-to-invest funding known as financial transactions, which are down 72% year-on-year.

Ms Robison told Holyrood’s finance committee in January that she had given all the financial transaction funding at her disposal to the Scottish National Investment Bank instead.

The cuts to the housing budget, despite nearly 10,000 children in temporary accommodation and three councils declaring housing emergencies because of a lack of social homes.

The Scottish Government has promised to deliver 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, of which 77,000 (70%) will be for social rent and 10% will be in rural and island communities.

Appearing on BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show, Ms Robison was asked about the criticism from Ms Watson and Homes for Scotland accusing her of “perpetuating inequality”.

Looking ahead to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s spring statement this week, Mr Robison said: “I respect all of these organisations and they're quite right in pushing and lobbying for affordable housing. 

“We have a good track record on affordable housing. I think the latest was about 117,000 affordable homes delivered since 2007. 

“We have a good track record and we want to deliver on our 110,000 target by 2032. 

“But with a £1.6bn cut to capital and a 62% cut to the financial transactions funding, that has an impact, and it's very difficult within our constrained capital resources to find where money could have been shifted.

“But it's the number one priority and let's see what Wednesday brings.”

 She added: “I really hope we see additional capital because I want to invest in affordable housing, because I know how important it is as an anti-poverty lever, and of course for economic growth as well.

“I want to look at ways of replacing that funding but I need the chancellor on Wednesday to reverse the cut to capital.

“I will make that our number one priority of investment if we see that.”

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Tory MSP Liz Smith said: “It’s ridiculous of Shona Robison to be giving the UK chancellor advice on growth, when the SNP’s dire record led to her savage tax-and-axe budget that means Scots will be paying more to receive fewer and worse services.

 “It’s even more absurd for her to call for housing investment, when she has just cut Scotland’s housing budget by 26%, and Shelter Scotland say the SNP are ‘gaslighting’ the public on the subject.

 “She showed no regret over failing to pass on rates relief money that other parts of the UK receive. Or about her shambolic handling of council tax, even saying they were getting a good deal – when essential frontline services are being hacked to the bone.

“Her tone-deaf defence of her disastrous budget - roundly condemned by everyone except her own party - shows no remorse for the SNP’s appalling mismanagement.”