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by Kirsteen Paterson
06 March 2023
SNP leadership race: Candidates' pledges on housing and human rights

The candidates appear at a hustings event

SNP leadership race: Candidates' pledges on housing and human rights

Rival SNP leadership contenders Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes have today outlined pledges on human rights and housing.

The pair are in contention to replace Nicola Sturgeon as she steps down, as is former Scottish Government minister Ash Regan.

Yousaf has said he will bring forward Scotland's Human Rights Bill in this parliamentary term, which will seek to incorporate UN treaties into Scots law.

He will "stand against any attempts by the UK Government to strip rights from people in Scotland by abandoning the Human Rights Act," his team has said.

Meanwhile, he has pledged to ensure a ban on conversion therapy, also saying that he would embed LGBT rights in the constitution of an independent Scotland.

On the incorporation of UN treaties, Yousaf said: "Any areas found to be outwith our power under the current devolution settlement will be incorporated into Scots law when we are independent."

Claiming that the Conservatives are "clearly itching to rob people in Scotland of their rights at the first opportunity" by scrapping the Human Rights Act, Yousaf went on: "As first minister, I will do everything in my power to protect and advance the rights of people in Scotland - and make the case for the full powers of independence which will allow us to go even further, keeping our human rights out of the hands of Westminster for good."

Meanwhile, Kate Forbes has said she will set up a new body for housebuilding if she is elected to succeed Nicola Sturgeon.

The organisation will be responsible for creating thousands of homes for purchase and rent annually, Forbes said, to tackle "immense pressure" on existing affordable housing stocks.

Meanwhile, she would introduce new measures to allow councils to implement a council tax surcharge on empty second homes in areas where there is a "high density" of holiday homes.

Forbes said: "Housing needs to be regarded as a necessary infrastructure in building a better Scotland and not a privilege outwith the reach of so many in our country. A secure, comfortable and low energy home needs to be accessible to all in a future Scotland. We have the people, the materials and the land, we just need the vision, will and organisation."

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