HUMZA Yousaf has pledged an uplift of £80 million for affordable housing over two years, in his first policy announcement since ending the Bute House Agreement.

With the SNP now a minority Government and a motion of no confidence in him looming, the  First Minister said he will increase the budget for affordable housing supply to £600m in 2024/25.

After pulling out of a speech about independence he was due to give on Friday morning, Yousaf set out the housing budget increase during a visit to Hillcrest Housing Association’s Derby Street Development in Dundee.

Earlier, senior Government sources had said Yousaf would “come out fighting” as opponents seek to bring him down.

READ MORE: Scottish Government faces no confidence vote as Anas Sarwar steps in

The £80m pledged on Friday is to go towards acquiring properties to bring into use for affordable housing.

Scottish Government ministers have pledged to build 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, but Labour has said they are not on track to meet this target.

Yousaf said: “Housing is essential in our efforts to tackle child poverty and reduce inequality across Scotland, and it supports jobs and growth in the economy.

“Providing good quality, affordable housing is at the very core of what my Government is doing to make Scotland a better place.

“While there is a single person homeless in our country, it is simply not acceptable to have houses sitting empty – so I am determined that we remove the barriers and provide the money that will enable councils to buy properties so they can become affordable homes again.

The National: First Minister Humza Yousaf during a visit to the Hillcrest Homes housing development in DundeeFirst Minister Humza Yousaf during a visit to the Hillcrest Homes housing development in Dundee (Image: Andrew Milligan)

“This £80m will build on the success of our national acquisition programme which I announced last year, which spent more than £60m and delivered more than 1000 affordable homes.

“This is one of a number of actions we are prioritising to help to reduce the number of households in temporary accommodation.

“We will also accelerate discussion with (councils body) Cosla in relation to the number of empty council homes.”

READ MORE: Ash Regan says 'door is open' in letter to Humza Yousaf

The latest Scottish Budget saw the government commit to spending £556m on the Affordable Housing Supply Programme in 2024-25. 

However, analysis from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) states that this amounted to a cut of £196m in cash terms, or a real terms cut of £205m when compared to the 2023-24 Budget. 

Scottish Labour MSP Mark Griffin said: "Humza Yousaf cuts £196m from the housing budget, pledges to give back £80m over two years.

"That’s not the sort of arithmetic that will win a vote of confidence".