Rough Sleeping

– in the Scottish Parliament on 6th December 2017.

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Photo of Graham Simpson Graham Simpson Conservative

8. To ask the Scottish Government what progress is being made to end rough sleeping this winter. (S5O-01561)

Photo of Kevin Stewart Kevin Stewart Scottish National Party

As I said earlier, the Scottish Government has accepted the recommendations of the homelessness and rough sleeping action group on reducing rough sleeping this winter. We have accepted those recommendations and we are providing £262,000 of funding to support rapid implementation of the actions.

Actions were prioritised on the basis of the ability to implement them at speed and to ensure the potential for the most direct and biggest impact, focused on our main cities. Those actions will be crucial to supporting and protecting people who have nowhere safe and warm to sleep this winter.

Ending rough sleeping is a national priority for this Government, which is why the action group has also been tasked with making recommendations for actions for the Government to take to eradicate rough sleeping for good.

Photo of Graham Simpson Graham Simpson Conservative

I agree with the minister that we need a long-term approach. However, the initial target of minimising rough sleeping this winter is too woolly to mean anything. It allows the Government to claim any reduction as a success. In terms of numbers or percentages, what would the minister regard as a success?

Photo of Kevin Stewart Kevin Stewart Scottish National Party

In my book, one person rough sleeping in the streets is one too many. The job that we tasked the action group with was to provide us with its recommendations on what we need to do this winter to do the best that we possibly can for the most vulnerable people in our society. The action group has done so. We have accepted all its recommendations and have come up with the finance and the resource to deal with those recommendations. Now, the job is to get on with doing the best that we can to help all those folks, who are the most vulnerable people in our society.