Helensburgh MSP Jackie Baillie has slammed the Scottish Government for the levels of homeless children living in temporary accommodation on a long-term basis.

The Dumbarton constituency MSP made her comments after figures revealed 80 families with children were in temporary accommodation for six months to one year throughout Argyll and Bute.

An additional 25 in Argyll and Bute have been left in temporary accommodation for one to two years with five in temporary accommodation for two to three years.

Ms Baillie said: “Spending months on end in temporary accommodation waiting for a home is no start in life.

“The devastating impact this will have on these young people will stay with them their whole lives.

“This crisis has been allowed to spiral out of control – and it is Scotland’s children who are paying the price.

“The figures across West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute are terrible while there should not be a single child in Scotland facing such long waits to find a stable home.

“The SNP must take urgent action now or else this crisis will only continue to worsen.”

The national data showed that 8,095 Scottish families with children were in temporary accommodation for six months to one year, 4,705 for one to two years, 1,010 for three to four years, and 420 for three years or more.

The data was collected from households with an open homelessness application from January 1, 2016 which was closed at, or prior to March 31, 2023 - with at least one associated temporary accommodation placement.

Housing Minister Paul McLennan told the Advertiser he agreed with Ms Baillie’s concerns about children are staying in temporary accommodation on a long-term basis.

However, he stated the Scottish Government were trying to remedy this issue by working towards the Temporary Accommodation Task and Finish Group’s recommendations.

He said: “Scotland has the strongest rights in the UK for people experiencing homelessness and - whilst it shows our legislation is working to make sure people are not roofless - temporary accommodation should be just that; temporary.

“We have committed to act on the recommendations of the expert Temporary Accommodation Task and Finish Group, including investing at least £60 million to help local authorities and registered social landlords acquire properties for use as high quality, affordable, permanent homes, as part of our wider Affordable Housing Supply Programme investment of £752m this year.

“We have provided local authorities with £52.5m between 2018-24 for their plans to support people into settled accommodation.”

The Scottish Government’s Temporary Accommodation Task and Finish Group is a sub-group of the Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group and was established to reduce the number of households in temporary accommodation and the time they spend there.

More information on the group and their recommendations can be found here: www.gov.scot/publications/temporary-accommodation-task-finish-group-final-report-recommendations.