Ministers have offered no hope of a rethink over spending curbs over the provision of affordable homes in Scotland -  despite finally issuing a national housing emergency.

It comes as The Herald can reveal that one in four of Scotland's 32 local authorities have declared their own housing emergencies with a shortage of homes a key reason.

The Scottish Government response has led to a hardcore of housing campaigners to warn that they will embark on a series of direct action disruption protests facing up ministers face-to-face in public.

It comes after housing campaigners and leading industry figures demanded that more money was ploughed into building new homes as the number being approved for build has slumped.

Eight local authorities have now declared a symbolic housing emergency - Glasgow, Edinburgh, Argyll and Bute, Fife, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian and the Scottish Borders, all citing housing shortages. 

The latest local authority to make a declaration is South Lanarkshire after a council motion found that there was a 28% annual increase in the number of people applying or assistance due to homelessness.

Meanwhile the backlog of urgent need homeless households awaiting settled rather than temporary halfway house accommodation has doubled.

The ministers response came after outgoing First Minister Humza faced a "campaign of resistance" at his offices after a key Scottish Government funding bid to help end a housing and homelessness crisis lost more than £300 million over the past two years.

The massive shortfall came despite a pledge by Humza Yousaf of an uplift of £80m for affordable housing over the next two years.

READ MORE: 'Campaign of resistance' as 2500 homeless children stuck in temporary Glasgow housing.

Concerns remain that a key Scottish Government pledge to deliver 110,000 social and affordable homes by 2032 has been delivered a "fatal blow" by the cuts.

Professional standards body the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) said ministers need to agree to commit to hundreds of millions of pounds extra each year on providing affordable housing to resolve Scotland's housing and homelessness emergency.

The Scottish Government's symbolic housing emergency declaration was made by social justice secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville during a Labour-led debate at Holyrood and ministers have cited UK government austerity, inflation labour shortages linked to Brexit and a freeze to local housing allowance rates for the the situation.

But First Minister John Swinney warned: “We have to recognise that the government does not have a limitless amount of money and we can’t invest everything if our capital budget is being reduced by the UK government.”

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.

Campaigners in their 'resistance campaign' demanded in a letter sent to the First Minister that the Scottish Government urgently bring forward millions to build the homes that are so desperately needed in Scotland saying that "nothing less than a housing revolution is needed to rescue the dire distuation".

But a response from the Scottish Goverment's More Homes section gave no hope of any money to back up the housing emergency pronouncement.

A letter seen by The Herald said that the financial cut was "one of the most difficult choices" taken in the latest Scottish Government budget.

It said that the Scottish Government was "profoundly disappointed at the UK Spring Budget’s failure to provide additional capital funding which we could have used for vital infrastructure, including affordable housing".

It said that the block grant for capital spending on such project from the UK Goverment was now expected to reduce in real terms by 8.7% by 2027-28 – a cumulative loss of over £1.3bn.

There was no more money on the table, over and above the £80m in the wake of the Scottish Government's declared housing emergency.

"We note that these are exceptionally challenging times and that is why the Scottish Government declared a national housing emergency, and we continue to call on the UK Government to reverse the almost 9% cut to Scotland’s capital budget," the letter says.

It said that they would look to cut the number of households in temporary accommodation and 'accelerate' discussions with the councils' representative body, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities in relation to the number of empty council homes.

"We recognise that increasing housing supply is key to reducing the pressure on temporary accommodation and will continue to work closely with our partners to mitigate the current challenges and deliver more affordable homes across Scotland," it said.

The Scottish Tenants' Organisation (STO) said that the failure to offer any hope to reverse the cuts was "unacceptable" in the wake of the Scottish Government's declared housing emergency and said that "blaming Westminster is being less than truthful".

They say that they will be engaging in "more overt direct action protests that will disrupt the activities of Scottish Government ministers in the weeks to come to force them to reverse their barbaric and cruel cuts to social housing which if not reversed will force more homeless people on to our streets and homeless children into overcrowded and squalid temporary accommodation".

As of December, Scotland has been averaging 633 affordable housing starts a month since setting the target. To meet a 110,000 homes target they have to deliver at an average of 894 homes a month.

This is set against the number of open homelessness applications in Scotland soaring by 30% since the pandemic began - from 22,754 in March, 2020, to 29,652 in 2022/23. The homeless household numbers being forced into temporary accommodation - like hotels and bed and breakfasts - rather than settled homes has shot up from 11,807 to 15,039.

Alba MSP Ash Regan asked the Government in a written question whether it would now "publish a housing emergency action plan, backed by regulatory and financial resources, before the end of 2024."

But Paul McLennan, the housing minister, has ruled out publishing a plan.

He responded: "There is widespread support for Scotland’s long term plan for housing, and for our collective plan to end homelessness.

(Image: Getty Images)

"So rather than diverting effort to the creation of a new action plan, it is our intention to work at pace in collaboration with partners to critically review and prioritise actions within these current plans.

"In doing so, we will focus on their impact and deliverability, linked to the First Minister’s priorities of eradicating child poverty, driving economic growth and investing in vital public services."

Sean Clerkin, campaign co-ordinator for the STO said: "Homes for the homeless should the the highest priority."

The Scottish Government's affordable homes budget has taken a cumulative hit of over £280m over the past three years without taking inflation into account - based against the 2021/22 allocation of £779.776m - despite a pledge by outgoing First Minister Humza Yousaf of a £80m uplift for affordable housing over the next two years.

Housing campaigners have been staggered by a £196.08m (26%) cut to the budget in the 2024/25 alone, without taking into account inflation, with the spending plans set at £555.862m before an extra £40m was promised by Mr Yousaf.

If the budget had kept up with inflation since 2021/22 in 2024/25, the spending plans would have been at £985.32m.

When inflation has been taken into account, instead of getting £2.631bn over the three years - the affordable homes budget is at £2.058bn - a drop of £573m.

The affordable homes plan set out by Nicola Sturgeon in a Programme for Government in 2021 aimed to "build on our investment in housing".

And Mr Yousaf in announcing the new money added: “Housing is essential in our efforts to tackle child poverty and reduce inequality across Scotland, and it supports jobs and growth in the economy."