Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has called for the Ministry of Defence to provide veteran’s support after shocking figures revealed the number of army homes left empty in Scotland has skyrocketed.
The figures, which have been uncovered through Freedom of Information, show that the number of vacant MoD properties throughout Scotland have increased from 690 in 2013 to 1136 this year.
Commenting on these worrying figures, Newlands said:
“Military veterans are a group that are unfortunately at risk of homelessness. Many veterans struggle to re-adapt to civilian life and often suffer from mental illness such as PTSD.
“The UK Government should look to the action being taken by the Scottish Government to tackle homelessness as well as their targeted and their drives to address veteran homelessness. As a result, homeless applications in Scotland have reduced by 39% in the last 8 years.
“Recent figures show that there are currently 1136 properties owned by the Ministry of Defence that are currently sitting completely empty when there are still many homeless veterans.
“Some of these properties may need redecoration or repair, but many fall within the ‘surplus’ category and could quite easily be used to house veterans temporarily while they are on en route to a permanent tenancy.
“The UK Government, and the Ministry of Defence, have a duty of care to those who have served in the armed forces, they must use their housing stock to help those veterans who are desperately in need.”