Feb 3 2012 by Colin Rutherford, Kilmarnock Standard
AN embarrassing council error led to a stinging attack by housing charity Shelter.
Shelter Scotland issued a strongly-worded statement after figures released by the Scottish Government appeared to show that the number of evictions carried out by the council had soared from 95 to 173 last year.
Shelter Scotland director Graeme Brown hit out: “East Ayrshire Council’s massive 82 per cent rise in eviction last year was the worst by any local authority in Scotland.
“This indicates a change in policy and a backward step which has completely wiped out the good work of previous years.”
It has now been revealed, however, that the figure attributed to East Ayrshire in the eviction report is complete nonsense.
But the council has little cause for complaint, because it was the authority itself which supplied the inaccurate statistic to the Scottish Government.
Said East Ayrshire’s head of housing Chris McAleavey: “Regrettably, East Ayrshire Council’s annual submission to the Scottish Government on the number of evictions carried out was inaccurate.
“The actual figure for evictions for 2010/11 was 73, which is a reduction of 16 per cent on the previous year and compares favourably with the national trend of a 13 per cent overall reduction.”
Mr McAleavey said that in the same year there was also a six per cent reduction in the number of housing applicants assessed as homeless, “which reflects the council’s concerted efforts to prevent homelessness, wherever possible, in both the social rents and the private sector”.