Section 12A — Short Scottish secure tenancies

Part of Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 10:45 am on 17th June 2004.

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Photo of Ms Rosemary Byrne Ms Rosemary Byrne SSP 10:45 am, 17th June 2004

We are talking about under-16s and children. We already have the tools to support those young people who need support. We have the children's hearings system, as we have just heard from Stewart Stevenson. We also have social services. If those tools are resourced properly, I do not see any need to go down the road of taking punitive and draconian measures against families.

If amendment 49 succeeds in removing section 12A, council and housing association tenants will be discriminated against. As we heard from Elaine Smith, they will be treated differently from everyone else. The ability to convert the tenancy for someone who is living in social housing has built a major inequality into housing law. Those who live in social housing could face eviction as a result of the behaviour of a child, while those who live in the private sector face would no such threat. Making a family homeless on the basis of the behaviour of one member of the household, particularly that of a child, is not a just or effective way of preventing, or responding to, antisocial behaviour. Evicting a whole family, or putting that family under threat of eviction, because of the behaviour of one child will only put the family under more pressure and that is no way in which to protect children.

We should consider the care and protection of our young people and make moves that are not punitive or draconian. We should try to offer support in the best sense of the word, which means supporting the family and the child in the existing system. Shelter Scotland says:

"The link between ASBOs and tenancies can impact not just on those who carry out antisocial behaviour but also on members of their household. This is particularly unjust given that it can lead to homelessness among children who have never carried out antisocial behaviour."

Amendment 49 would represent a backward step. I urge members to oppose it.