Third of social housing tenants struggling financially

Almost a third of people living in social housing in Shetland say they are not managing well financially, according to recent survey results.

When asked how well their household was managing, 30 per cent of those in social sector rented households in the isles said they “do not manage well financially”.

The results of the most recent Scottish household survey annual report were discussed at Monday’s audit committee meeting, with councillors voicing their concerns.

South Mainland councillor Robbie McGregor said that they “cannot allow” this to be the case.

“I would suggest that austerity might have some contribution to this figure,” he added.

Lerwick North councillor Stephen Leask said he totally agreed with Mr McGregor, adding that the council was “hamstrung by what we can discuss” due to pre-election period restraints, with committee chair Allison Duncan also agreeing on this point.

These constraints limit what can be discussed in the council chamber during the general election campaign.

The number who said they were not managing well financially was also higher than the average figure for Scotland, which is 22 per cent.

While Shetland continues to beat the Scottish average in a variety of areas, including volunteering, rating their neighbourhood as a “very good” place to live, adults in work and satisfaction with local authority sport and leisure facilities, the financial situation of social sector tenants was a cause for concern in the chamber.

However, Mr Duncan said that the report did show the isles “outperform Scotland in a substantial number of areas, and long may that continue”.

The household survey provides information on the composition, characteristics and behaviour of households across the country.

The sample size for Shetland is 230 or higher (one in 90 households), one of the highest proportionate sample sizes in Scotland.

More in this week’s edition of The Shetland Times.


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