Edinburgh accused of ousting homeless people from city ahead of Taylor Swift’s Eras tour concert

By Abby Amoakuh

Published May 30, 2024 at 12:09 PM

Reading time: 1 minute

Housing Charity Shelter Scotland has reported that a number of homeless people it supports were sent to Aberdeen and Glasgow via taxi to make room for tourists ahead of Taylor Swift’s Eras tour performance in the city.

Swift will be playing three nights at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium from 7 to 9 June 2024. In this period, hundreds of thousands of fans are expected to flock to the Scottish capital. This has subsequently resulted in a shortage of accommodation and is now leading to intense competition for hotel rooms.

There is a legal obligation for people who are declared homeless in Scotland to be offered emergency temporary accommodation, and this can sometimes come in the form of hotels. However, due to the severe hotel shortage caused by the concert, people being declared homeless in Edinburgh, who would usually be offered temporary accommodation in this form, are being sent away, the housing charity explained.

Shelter for Scotland described this situation as “a blatant injustice” and rejected the notion that homeless people should be “in direct competition” with tourists.

The organisation’s director Alison Watson said the situation in Edinburgh was further evidence of the urgency of the country’s housing emergency.

The Edinburgh City Council has said it was “absolutely not” evicting people in temporary accommodation to make space for Swifties and tourists. Housing convenor Councillor Jane Meagher, however, admitted: “It is a symptom of the housing emergency we face in Edinburgh.”

On 15 May, it was reported that the Scottish government also declared a national housing emergency due to issues ranging from pressure on homelessness services, rising property prices and high levels of temporary accommodation.

The decision came after sustained pressure from campaigners and opposition parties.

“Our frontline services are already seeing people in need of a bed tonight being told their only option is to leave of the city,” Watson told the BBC. “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,” the director continued.

Watson also warned that without a change of course from the local government it could be expected that the issue would reoccur during the city’s annual Fringe Festival in August.

The BBC still noted that there was no evidence of homeless people being removed from accommodation in which they are already staying.

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