NORTH Ayrshire's SNP and Conservative candidates have clashed over the housing issues facing the area.

Todd Ferguson, the Tories' candidate for North Ayrshire and Arran at the forthcoming general Election, claims the area's MP has "​run out of excuses trying to deflect from years of SNP failure to build enough houses. 

But Patricia Gibson, who is defending the seat for the SNP, insisted that her party has a great record on housing.

Mr Ferguson said a freedom of information request last year had highlighted the huge scale of the problem for those seeking social housing.

The FOI found that in North Ayrshire and Arran 13,500 people were on a housing waiting list including, worryingly, nearly 3,000 children.

He added that instead of “patting the SNP on the back”, Ms Gibson should be challenging her Nationalist colleagues in Holyrood over increasing homelessness, record social housing waiting lists, and savage cuts to the affordable housing and local authority budgets.

Ferguson said: “These delusional claims from Patricia Gibson about the success of the SNP’s handling of the housing crisis wouldn’t be out of place in a fairytale.

“The ‘systemic failure’ in council homelessness services along with the savage cuts to affordable housing budgets has resulted in eyewatering waiting lists here in North Ayrshire and Arran. It is all thanks to the SNP’s blatant refusal to prioritise the housing crisis.

“Local authorities have been completely starved of the essential funding to tackle this crisis which only adds more pressure to an already spiralling problem.

"Now is not the time for the SNP to be patting themselves on the back – instead they should urgently act by providing more support to local authorities to prevent Scotland’s housing crisis from escalating further.”

Ms Gibson said: “People aren’t fooled by the Tory candidate’s bluster.  The facts speak for themselves. 

“Since the SNP took office in 2007, Scotland’s annual supply of affordable housing has consistently been the highest in Britain per 10,000 population.

"It’s 42 per cent higher in Scotland than in England under the Tories and 80 per cent higher than Wales under Labour. 

“Sadly, the UK Tory Government has imposed a £484 million cut to Scotland’s capital allocation for 2024-25 – with a cut of 20 per cent over five years.  

“If the Tories want to argue for more homes to be built, they should say what other areas of the Scottish budget the money should come from. The Police? NHS? Transport? 

“Instead of empty bluster, the Tories in Scotland should demand that the UK Chancellor restores the £484 million cut to Scotland’s capital budget when he announces his next budget on March 6.

"Somehow, I doubt they will even ask.”

The North Ayrshire and Arran seat is also being contested by Saltcoats resident Irene Campbell for Scottish Labour.