Homeless sent from Edinburgh to make way for Taylor Swift fans

Taylor Swift performing in Lisbon as part of her Eras Tour, which moves to Edinburgh on June 7 and is predicted to provide a £1 billion boost the British economy
Taylor Swift performing in Lisbon as part of her Eras Tour, which moves to Edinburgh on June 7 and is predicted to provide a £1 billion boost the British economy - PEDRO GOMES/GETTY IMAGES

Homeless people are being removed from Edinburgh to accommodate Taylor Swift fans in a move housing campaigners branded a “blatant injustice”.

A shortage of hotel rooms in the Scottish capital, ahead of the US megastar playing three shows at Murrayfield stadium, means accommodation that would otherwise have been used for the homeless is unavailable.

The city council, which had already declared a housing emergency, is understood to have been forced to send people to Glasgow or Aberdeen when it would otherwise have used tourist accommodation in the city for short-term shelter.

Swift, 34, is to begin the UK leg of her hugely successful Eras Tour with three dates in Edinburgh, starting on Friday June 7.

She will then perform multiple times in Liverpool, Cardiff and London in what it has been claimed will deliver a £1 billion boost to the British economy.

However, there is particular pressure on hotel accommodation in Edinburgh, with standard hotel rooms typically costing about £600 per night.

“This is yet further evidence of the urgency of Scotland’s housing emergency,” said Alison Watson, the Shelter Scotland director.

“In Edinburgh that emergency now places people experiencing homelessness in direct competition with tourists; a blatant injustice.

“It simply should not be the case that hosting a major event at Murrayfield has significant knock-on effects for people experiencing homelessness in Edinburgh.

“With the council having already declared a housing emergency and the Scottish Housing Regulator saying the city’s homelessness services are experiencing systemic failure, we urgently need a different response from the Scottish Government.”

While those already in council-funded accommodation are not being removed to make way for fans, bookings are made as an emergency measure one week at a time.

It means that those supporting people currently reporting as homeless are seeing bookings that coincide with fans arriving for the concerts.

There is a legal obligation for people declared homeless in Scotland to be offered emergency temporary accommodation, but hotels are filling up in Edinburgh
There is a legal obligation for people declared homeless in Scotland to be offered emergency temporary accommodation, but hotels are filling up in Edinburgh - JEFF J MITCHELL/GETTY IMAGES

Shelter Scotland said several homeless people it supports had been denied accommodation in Edinburgh, and were being sent in taxis to Glasgow or Aberdeen.

It was claimed one person was offered temporary accommodation in Newcastle.

There is a legal obligation for people declared homeless in Scotland to be offered emergency temporary accommodation.

Council sources said there was sometimes pressure on hotel accommodation in Edinburgh “regardless of Taylor Swift concerts”.

Jane Meagher, the council’s housing and homelessness convenor, said: “It is a symptom of the housing emergency we face in Edinburgh that at times we must use tourist accommodation to house homeless households.

“We know it won’t be available year-round, particularly over the busy summer months, so we use it reluctantly as a last resort.

“We’re aware of the situation and are working with the affected households to find appropriate, alternative accommodation.”

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