A fourth Scottish council is set to declare a housing emergency this week, as homeless levels and waiting lists soar.

Labour’s housing spokesperson Judy Hamilton has put forward a motion at the next meeting of Fife Council for the body to officially declare an emergency.

Argyll and Bute, Edinburgh and Glasgow have all previously declared a housing emergency.

A motion put forward for the meeting on Thursday, March 21 states: "Council agrees to declare a Housing Emergency and requests the Head of Housing to work with partners to bring forward a Housing Emergency Action Plan to the Cabinet Committee in June, to supplement and accelerate already agreed actions and to address the Housing Emergency in Fife.

"Council also calls on the Scottish Government to reverse its decision to cut the affordable housing programme budget by 26%."

The motion notes "with great concern" the number of households assessed as homeless and waiting for a tenancy and the number of families with children in temporary accommodation, pressures on the Housing Revenue Account that required a 5% rent increase and that Fife did not receive any of the additional £2m revenue funding for temporary accommodation announced by the Scottish Government prior to December 2023.

Read More: Scottish Government urged to reverse 'brutal' cut to affordable housing budget

In the most recent Scottish Government budget, the money for building social housing was cut by £196m - equivalent to 26%.

The government has set a target of building 110,000 affordable homes by 2032.

Sally Thomas, Chief Executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), said: “Amid a backdrop of increasing homelessness, a severe shortage of social homes, and repeated Scottish Government budget cuts, it is clear that all of Scotland faces a housing emergency. 

“It’s unlikely that Fife will be the final local authority to make this declaration, and until the Scottish Government commits to sufficient funding for the affordable, secure, rented homes Scotland needs, then its long-term strategy for housing will continue to unravel.  

The Herald: Sally ThomasSally Thomas (Image: Chief Executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations)

“During the Scottish Government’s Budget process, the Deputy First Minister repeatedly said any additional funds that became available would go to affordable rented housing. Now that Scotland is to receive around £295 million of consequential funding from the UK Government Spring Budget, we are calling on Shona Robison to keep her word.  

"With almost quarter-of-a-million people on a waiting list for an affordable rented home and the highest number of homeless cases on record, inaction is simply not an option.” 

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 £752 million in affordable housing in 2023/24, the majority of which will be for social rent, including £34.6 million for the Fife Council area.

"I regularly engage with Fife Council to find solutions to the housing pressures they are facing, including making sure they work with the Empty Homes Partnership to bring more empty properties back into use to increase housing stock.

“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.

"Likewise our Financial Transactions budget – key to delivering affordable housing – has been cut by 62%. 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.”