Skip to main content

The People vs Glasgow City Council

Published: 19 August 2019

The People vs Glasgow City Council

We are seeking public support for court action against Glasgow City Council for breaking the law more than 3,000 times last year.

Today we are preparing to take Glasgow City Council to court unless it ends the practice of unlawfully denying homeless people temporary accommodation. We have outlined our intention to seek a judicial review in a solicitor's letter delivered today. The letter was hand-delivered by a delegation of formerly homeless people who are inviting the public to join the court action and show that the people of Glasgow will not accept vulnerable citizens’ legal rights being routinely ignored.

The threat of judicial review follows repeated engagement by Shelter Scotland with Glasgow City Council councillors and officials over several years to raise concerns about ‘gatekeeping’ activity and systemic failures within the city’s homelessness services. This culminated in a high-profile protest in July 2018 that led to promises of improvements. However, the most recent official statistics published last month show that over the last twelve months the situation has got worse not better with people forced back on the streets 3,365 times compared to 3,025 occasions the previous year.

Today’s legal letter outlines the basis for avoiding court action. We will not sit idly by as people’s legal rights to a home are routinely denied and that it will speak out while others stay silent. Glasgow City Council should stop turning people away and guarantee never to force them onto the street again.

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said:

“Quite simply, enough is enough. The facts are clear; Glasgow City Council is breaking the law; homeless people are being forced onto the streets; officials are unable or unwilling to tackle the problem; and the numbers are getting worse not better.

“This is a Glasgow problem that needs leadership from the top to tackle. When Shelter Scotland supporters protested outside the City Chambers last year, we were hopeful that things would get better. Instead the numbers have gone up during a year when 47 people have died on Glasgow’s streets.

“Rights are not a privilege - they are a legal entitlement enforceable by law and GCC should not be allowed to disregard the law with impunity. If action is not taken to end this practice and public bodies can pick and choose which laws they wish to follow, then it will undermine citizens’ rights across the board.

“I hope that the City Council will respond positively to our lawyer’s letter today and avoid the need for court, but there may be little choice. If the judicial review goes ahead then Shelter Scotland will ask the Court to declare that Glasgow City Council are acting unlawfully and that they should prepare and submit to Scottish Ministers a revised homelessness strategy that puts a plan in place to guarantee temporary accommodation for every homeless person that needs it.”

We are asking the public to become part of any action by signing a petition to demonstrate to the Council that they cannot continue to ignore their legal obligations to its citizens and by donating to a crowdfund campaign to help fund our fight for housing rights in Scotland.

Tam Lyon, who himself has experience of the transformative benefit a home and good support makes to people rebuilding their lives after homelessness, was one of the delegation that delivered today’s lawyer’s letter to the council.

Tam Lyon said:

“I know how difficult it is to get the support you need when you are dealing with homelessness. Simple things like where to stay that night become impossible and it is easy to think nobody cares. It is a scandal that Glasgow City Council has been able to get away with this for so long, but the harsh reality is that they think nobody will do anything about it.

“That’s why I am asking the people of Glasgow to show their support. Anyone can become homeless because of debt, losing your job or becoming disabled and we all need to know that when we need it most, there is somewhere we can go. Please donate to the crowdfund campaign, sign the petition and tell Glasgow City Council to stop breaking the law.”


Share this on
Facebook Twitter

Was this page helpful?

This feedback tool can't offer advice. If you still need help, please call our free housing helpline on 0808 800 4444

Would you recommend Shelter Scotland's website to a friend, colleague or family member?
(0 - not at all likely, 10 - extremely likely)

Your feedback is being submitted

Success! Thank you for your feedback.

If you'd like to hear more about our work at Shelter Scotland, you can sign up to receive updates on our campaigns page.

Sorry, there was a problem sending your feedback to us. Please try again or contact us via the website if this error persists.