RUTH Davidson’s Tories have a “brass neck” organising a parliamentary debate about housing, the SNP have said.

At Holyrood today Tory MSPs will attack Nicola Sturgeon for a slowdown in housebuilding and a dip in the number of people in Scotland owning their homes.

The debate follows on from a speech made by Davidson at the end of last month.

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The Tories will call on the Scottish Government to create a new Housing and Infrastructure Agency, and to look at a “New Towns Act” to construct new garden towns and villages.

Figures released yesterday showed there were 4279 new build houses completed between January and March in 2017, a three per cent increase on the same quarter last year.

That took the total number of houses built in Scotland for the 2016-17 financial year to 17,078, up one per cent on the previous year.

Throughout the first nine years of the Scottish Parliament, 24,000 houses were built every year, with the slump coming as the economy tanked.

Adam Lang of Shelter Scotland welcomed the debate, saying the charity were pleased housing is high on the political agenda.

He said: “The evidence is clear. Last year a household became homeless in Scotland every 19 minutes. There are more rough sleepers on our streets. Thousands are living in temporary accommodation and record numbers are renting privately. There are 142,500 households on council waiting lists, while 748,000 homes are in fuel poverty.

“To tackle our housing crisis, we need to make sure that there is a safe and secure home for everyone by building 12,000 truly affordable, good quality new homes each year during this parliament.

“And we need to ensure the new action group on homelessness – announced in last week’s programme for government – quickly delivers real change on the ground in preventing homelessness.”

Scottish Tory communities spokesman Adam Tomkins said the housing crisis could only be solved through political leadership.

He said for Scots housing is the “very essence of aspiration”.

“To deliver this we need radical reform of our congested planning laws and a new ‘can-do’ attitude from Scottish ministers, who are asleep at the wheel. The housing shortage isn’t a looming crisis or distant threat. We are living in it and we need political leadership to address it. I’m delighted to be setting out our ambitious but deliverable plan to tackle one of Scotland’s major challenges.”

The SNP argued that Scotland’s housing problems could be traced back to “the Tories’ toxic legacy”.

Davidson’s housing plan was, they said, “nothing more than an unconvincing PR strategy”.

SNP MSP James Dornan said: “Getting on the housing ladder is a huge challenge for many young Scots, but the Tories have a real brass neck posing as concerned campaigners for affordable homes. Next they’ll be proposing free school milk and jobs for miners.

“It was the Tories that sold off our council homes – many of which are now in the hands of private landlords – putting enormous pressure on remaining social housing.

“That’s a legacy that is felt by those on council house waiting lists to this day, and still the Tories opposed our efforts to protect remaining social housing.”

Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman said: “The Green approach centres on eliminating the speculative volume housebuilding industry. It’s time for a new model of housebuilding – one which reflects well established practices in much of Europe including Germany and the Netherlands.

“Only with action to improve the quality and energy efficiency of existing homes can we ensure that everyone in Scotland has a comfortable, warm and affordable to heat home.”