SCOTLAND’S housing minister has blamed Westminster cuts rising levels of homelessness as new figures were published showing the growing scale of the problem.

New statistics published on Tuesday showed all metrics the Scottish Government uses to measure homelessness had seen a rise.

The latest figures – covering April to September last year – showed there had been an 8% increase in the number of households compared with the same period in 2022.

There was also a 3% increase in the number of applications to be considered homeless and the figures showed there was a 4% uptick in those assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness.

The data also showed that open applications – people who had applied for assessment but had not yet received a ruling – were up 10%, the highest level in 20 years.

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According to a new report on the statistics this was the “second year in a row increases have been experienced across all these measures”.

It added: “As at September 30, 2023, open applications and households in temporary accommodation reached the highest in the time series from 2003 and 2002, respectively.”

Rough sleeping is also up, with 1,408 applications that reported a household member experiencing rough sleeping in the three months before the application was made, and 888 the night before.

These are increases compared to the same period in 2022.

And there were 1,575 instances of households not being offered temporary accommodation.

This is a substantial increase from 345 in 2022. The vast majority of these were in Glasgow, which saw 1,355 such cases.

The National: Paul McLennan

Housing Minister Paul McLennan (above) said cuts in Westminster had made the situation in Scotland worse.

He said: “These figures are sobering and demonstrate the challenge we face in tackling homelessness, which has been made worse by UK Government’s Local Housing Allowance Freeze, cuts to the Scottish Government’s budget and the bedroom tax.

“Despite this, Scotland continues to have the strongest rights anywhere in the UK for anyone who becomes homeless, but we are determined to ensure no one need become homeless in the first place and ensure people can stay in their homes.”

It comes as the Scottish Parliament prepares to debate the Government’s latest budget, which includes cuts to money dedicated to housebuilding.

The Scottish Government has come in for fierce criticism for the cuts but ministers have insisted their hands were tied by the spending plans unveiled by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in his Autumn Statement late last year.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “Our Local Housing Allowance increase will put an average of nearly £800 more a year into the pockets of 1.6 million private renters on the lowest incomes, and the removal of the spare room subsidy encourages mobility within the social rented sector, making better use of available social housing.

“The Scottish Government is receiving a record £41 billion per year settlement from the UK Government and has significant tax, borrowing and welfare powers to deliver for the people of Scotland.”