Homeless face being sent outside of Edinburgh as Taylor Swift shows push up hotel demand | UK News

A number of homeless people face being sent outside of Edinburgh to make way for tourists ahead of Taylor Swift performing in the city.

The City of Edinburgh Council said it is working with those affected to find “alternative accommodation”.

The local authority said as a result of its housing emergency, it must at times use tourist accommodation to house homeless people.

However, as it won’t be available year-round – particularly over the summer holidays – it is “reluctantly” used as a last resort as a short-term fix and is only booked one week at a time.

Taylor Swift performs at the Monumental stadium during her Eras Tour concert in Buenos Aires. Pic: AP
Swift is set to perform three shows in Edinburgh in June. Pic: AP

Swift is set to perform at Murrayfield Stadium next week on 7, 8 and 9 June, with tens of thousands of fans expected to flock to the Scottish capital to see the US singer – many with prior hotel reservations.

If the council fails to source accommodation in the city, then the homeless households will be moved elsewhere in the country.

There is no evidence of homeless people being removed from accommodation where they are currently staying.

Councillor Jane Meagher, housing, homelessness and fair work convener, said: “It is a symptom of the housing emergency we face in Edinburgh that at times we must use tourist accommodation to house homeless households.

“We know it won’t be available year-round, particularly over the busy summer months, so we use it reluctantly as a last resort.

“We’re aware of the situation and are working with the affected households to find appropriate, alternative accommodation.”

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Swift fans flock to London pub

Shelter Scotland described the situation as “a blatant injustice”.

Alison Watson, director of the charity, said: “This situation is yet further evidence of the urgency of Scotland’s housing emergency.

“In Edinburgh that emergency now places people experiencing homelessness in direct competition with tourists; a blatant injustice.

“Our frontline services have seen people in need of a bed tonight being told their only option is to leave the city.

“A family going through the trauma of homelessness in Edinburgh should not have to move miles from their job, school, and community to find emergency accommodation.”

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There is a legal obligation for people declared homeless in Scotland to be offered emergency temporary accommodation, and this can come in the form of hotels.

The council declared a housing emergency last November in the face of increasing homelessness figures and a lack of supply.

The Scottish government followed suit earlier this month after sustained pressure from campaigners and opposition parties.

Ms Watson is calling for Holyrood to deliver its promise of a national housing emergency action plan.

She said that without change, the council will be facing the same issue during Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August.

Ms Watson stated: “At a time when the City of Edinburgh Council has declared a housing emergency and the Scottish Housing Regulator says the city’s homelessness services are experiencing systemic failure, we need a different response from the Scottish government.

“Scottish ministers must deliver their promise of a national housing emergency action plan that delivers more homes and more money for Edinburgh.

“Without that change we can expect more of the same when the festival kicks off in a few weeks’ time.”

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