Housing organisations have given a lukewarm response to Humza Yousaf's announcement of £80 million of funding to purchase empty homes for social housing.

In a move designed to draw attention from the fallout over the failed Bute House Agreement, the First Minister cancelled a planned speech at the University of Strathclyde to instead visit Hillcrest Housing Association’s Derby Street development in Dundee.

A statement from Mr Yousaf said providing affordable housing is "at the very core of what my government is doing to make Scotland a better place".

READ MORE: Defiant Humza Yousaf says he will not resign as First Minister

Housing bodies, however, said the £80m pledge was too little to reverse Scotland's housing emergency.

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) pointed to the fact the government's record on housing has been under intense scrutiny in recent months following a £196m cut to the country’s affordable housing budget.

SFHA Chief Executive, Sally Thomas, said that while any new funding was welcome, this move would not address the core issue of needing to build homes at scale.

She said: “For months we’ve repeatedly called on government to reverse the huge £200 million cut to the affordable housing programme, so I’m pleased to see the First Minister at least considering the issue of housing."

Figures published last month pointed to the lowest number of homes built by housing associations last year than at any point since 1988.

Ms Thomas added: “Fundamentally what we need are the funds to build – and this simply will not build a single new social home.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf 'folded to pressure' from right of the party, Slater claims

“With freefall in supply, this funding announcement pales in comparison to what we’ve lost and unfortunately represents little more than a sticking plaster during a national housing emergency.”

Wearing high vis and a hard hat, he toured the development with officers from the housing association.

In a statement, the First Minister said: "While there is a single person homeless in our country, it is simply not acceptable to have houses sitting empty – so I am determined that we remove the barriers, and provide the money that will enable councils to buy properties so they can become affordable homes again.

"This £80m will build on the success of our National Acquisition Programme which I announced last year, which spent more than £60m and delivered more than 1000 affordable homes. "This is one of a number of actions we are prioritising to help to reduce the number of households in temporary accommodation.

"We will also accelerate discussion with COSLA in relation to the number of empty council homes."

Leading housing charity Shelter Scotland urged the First Minister to make social homes the ‘bedrock’ of his plan to tackle homelessness and child poverty.

The charity stressed that the housing budget had still faced a significant cut at a time when investment was urgently needed.

Shelter Scotland Director Alison Watson said: "When the Scottish Government cut the housing budget earlier this year, we made no secret of our dismay and, indeed, our anger that such a decision could be taken during a devastating housing emergency.

"While I’m pleased that today the First Minister has committed to restoring a portion of that lost funding, the housing budget has still suffered an enormous cut at a time when social housing desperately needs significant investment.

"If the First Minister is committed to a ‘reset’ then he should take that opportunity to make social housing the bedrock of a plan to tackle homelessness and child poverty.

"Delivering social housing builds a better, fairer, Scotland; we’ll continue to urge the Scottish Government to demonstrate its commitment to that vision."

The £80m funding will increase the Affordable Housing Supply Programme budget to nearly £600m in 2024-2025.