Edinburgh declares housing emergency to curb rent inflation

The City of Edinburgh Council has declared a housing emergency in a bid to secure more financial support from the Scottish government.

Spiralling private rental costs and soaring homelessness are behind the calls for help.

Councillor Jane Meagher, who tabled the motion, said: “Despite us doubling the Council’s homelessness budget over the last three years, we are now at risk of failing households who need our help most,” she said in a statement.

“Edinburgh may be a wealthy city on the surface, but we are seeing demand for homes far outstrip supply. Close to 5,000 households including many children will need to live in temporary accommodation this Christmas, because of this housing shortage.

“Rents are being driven up, the cost of living continues to put pressure on household bills and homelessness is rising. We have ambitious housebuilding plans, but we face rising construction costs as a result of inflation and difficulties securing land. This is against a backdrop of Edinburgh having the lowest proportion of homes for social rent in all of Scotland.”

The city has the highest rental inflation rate in the UK at 13.7%, while it’s known as having a high ratio of Airbnbs to cater for tourists.

The council, run by a minority Labour administration, said about 200 bids are made for each social rented home that becomes available.