More than one million Scots feel left behind by housing crisis

More than one million of 18-44 year-olds in Scotland say housing problems are forcing them to put their lives on hold, according to new research.  Pic: Ian Georgeson.
More than one million of 18-44 year-olds in Scotland say housing problems are forcing them to put their lives on hold, according to new research. Pic: Ian Georgeson.

More than one million 18-44 year-olds in Scotland say housing problems are forcing them to put their lives on hold, according to new research.

The study was part of a UK-wide study by Shelter, Shelter Scotland and YouGov which revealed how Britain’s housing shortage is reshaping the way millions of people live their lives and creating entirely new timescales for hitting traditional life milestones.

From career and retirement to family and relationships, housing is seen as a key reason for people lagging behind in crucial aspects of their lives.

The research also showed in Scotland that 15 per cent of 18-44 year-olds said housing problems were a key factor in stalling their career and had experienced or expected a delay in finding job opportunities.

It showed that younger people already feel retirement is slipping out of reach, with nine per cent saying they thought it would be delayed because of housing.

Marriage and family was a major area of concern, with 15 per cent of 18-44 year-olds in relationships in Scotland saying they had postponed marriage, or expected to do so as a result of housing pressures.

And many couples are also facing problems starting a family – 18 per cent of people in relationships have put off having children, or are expecting to in future, also due to housing pressures.

The study of adults under 45 was carried out as part of the charity’s Great Home Debate project.

With so many losing hope of a stable future, Shelter, Shelter Scotland and Scottish Gas are urging the public to take part in a national conversation about the meaning of home. The charity will use people’s views to help shape new standards for homes in the 21st century – and anyone can have their say by visiting www.greathomedebate.org.uk.

Adam Lang, head of communications and policy at Shelter Scotland, said: “Everyone deserves the chance to have a home where they can put down roots and build a life for themselves. But our ever-growing housing crisis means hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland feel they are being left behind – unable to reach many of the crucial life milestones that were taken for granted by the generations who came before them.

“It’s heart-breaking in 21st Century Scotland to see so many people still living in housing limbo, facing a frustrating lifetime of instability and feeling unable to move forward with their lives.”

Adam added: “This housing crisis is everyone’s problem and it’s the responsibility of all of us to help fix it. We are asking people to take part in the Great Home Debate and tell us what home really means to modern Scotland – so we can fight to make it a reality for future generations.”

Bryan Halliday, head of corporate citizenship at Scottish Gas, said: “Everyone has the right to a safe and warm home, and our partnership with Shelter and Shelter Scotland has made great progress towards this.

“But more needs to be done to put an end to bad housing. This is why we’re supporting the Great Home Debate to help shape housing standards of the future.”