MSP Katy Clark has slammed the Scottish Government’s housing strategy after it emerged 165 households with children across North Ayrshire have been stuck in “temporary” accommodation for over six months.

Of these, 20 have been left without a permanent home for one to two years, with a further five households having waited between two and three years.

Across Scotland, 6,135 Scottish households with children have been stuck in temporary accommodation for over one year. It comes just weeks after data showed the number of local authority new builds in Scotland has dropped by 23 per cent in a year despite record levels of homelessness.

Ms Clark, Labour West Scotland MSP, said: “It is appalling that homelessness continues to blight communities in this day and age.

"It is particularly devastating to know there are families spending years waiting for a home here in North Ayrshire.

“Children deserve the best start in life, yet so many are being left in limbo.

"Despite this, the Scottish Government continues to cut local government budgets and its support for delivery of new social housing does not remotely reach the scale required."

The MSP added: “There should not be a single child in Scotland facing such long waits to find a stable home. The Scottish Government must step up, take action and deliver an emergency social housing strategy.”

The same figures revealed that East Ayrshire had 80 families with children who had spent more than six months in temporary accommodation - 10 of them for more than a year.

And in South Ayrshire, a shocking 215 families with children had spent more than six months in temporary accommodation. Twenty five of those had been in the temporary accommodation for between one and two years and another five had spent two to three years in temporary homes.

Housing Minister Paul McLennan said: “Scotland has the strongest rights across the UK nations for people experiencing homelessness and - whilst it shows our legislation is working to make sure people are not roofless - temporary accommodation should be just that; temporary.

“We are doing all we can to prevent people becoming homeless and to reduce the use of temporary accommodation by making £3.5 billion available in this Parliamentary term, towards the delivery of more affordable and social homes.

“We have committed to act on the recommendations of the expert Temporary Accommodation Task and Finish Group, including making available at least £60 million for councils and social landlords to acquire properties for use as affordable homes as part of our wider Affordable Housing Supply Programme investment of £752 million this year, asking social landlords to increase allocations to homeless households, and supporting councils to develop targeted plans.”