“The Scottish Government urgently needs to start prioritising housing for Scotland,” says Scottish Labour politician Foysol Choudhury
Over the past year, housing issues have made up a significant amount of Scottish Labour politician – Foysol Choudhury’s casework. Currently, approximately 25% of casework is concerned with housing issues. Most housing issues that constituents are bringing to his notice relate to the lack of suitable council accommodation, with many having to live in temporary accommodation. Recently, a coroner reported that the tragic death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak was a direct result of the black mould in the flat he lived in and constituents have been concerned about black mould in their properties.
The Tory Government, according to Choudhury, has inflicted chaos on the country this year, with a staggering display of financial mismanagement. “However, funding for local authorities in Scotland is set by the Scottish government, and it is SNP-inflicted austerity that has left Scotland’s local services under threat. There has been a cut of more than a quarter to the housebuilding budget. This is a disgraceful dereliction of the duty of this Government to solve our ongoing housing crisis and will lead to less homes being built for those families stuck in temporary accommodation, people sleeping on the streets, or languishing on social housing waiting lists for year after year. Rapid rehousing transition plans and homelessness prevention are flat, meaning that there will be no more support available for local authorities to deal with the continuing crisis of homelessness, made worse by the supply of new homes being cut off,” he mentioned in a statement.
Choudhury highlights that NHS waiting times, health issues (including delayed discharge), continue to be a major problem in Lothian, with approximately 11% of his casework being related to these issues.
In Scotland, the length of time that people are having to wait for hospital procedures, outpatient appointments and diagnostic tests has shot up to 776,341 – equivalent to 1 in 7 Scots. Figures have revealed that at the end of September 2022, 2,114 people referred for an outpatient appointment and 7,612 patients waiting for a day case, or inpatient procedure had already been waiting for over two years. 
These shocking figures have been reflected by the high number of constituents who have contacted Choudhury about the length of time that they are having to wait for appointments, hospital procedures, or the length of time they have had to wait in A&E. For example, some in Lothian are being told that they may have to wait approximately 70 weeks for some eye laser treatments and over 110 weeks for some exploratory gynaecological operations. The stress and anxiety caused by such long waits can lead to other mental and physical problems or exacerbate conditions that are already present. Constituents have also contacted him about delayed discharge from hospital due to the lack of social care available, or places in care homes. Despite the SNP promises to end delayed discharge back in 2015, this practice has soared and in October 2022, an average of 1,898 bed days were lost every day – the worst figure on record. Choudhury promises to continue to press the Scottish Government on these and other important issues, like the cost of living crisis, and will continue to make representations on behalf of his Lothian constituents as the world heads into the new year.