Figures a ‘wake-up call’ for authorities

Households are set to increase by 21 per cent against a national average of 13 per cent (Alistair McMillan).
Households are set to increase by 21 per cent against a national average of 13 per cent (Alistair McMillan).

The number of households in West Lothian is projected to rise by above the national average over the next 25 years, according to a new report.

National Records of Scotland (NRS) has predicted an increase of 317,000 households across the country between 2016 and 2041 and while he number is expected to rise by 13 per cent over the period compared to just five per cent population growth across Scotland. West Lothian is expected to see an increase of 21 per cent.

The figures have been described as a “wake-up call” to councils and governments to take action.

Falkirk will see a rise of 15 per cent while Edinburgh and East Lothian will each see increases of 26 per cent. The largest projected rise is for Midlothian – at 36 per cent

Older people are more likely to live alone than younger people and more women are expected to live alone – reflecting their greater life expectancy than men and tendency to outlive their partners.

Anne Slater, acting chief executive at NRS, said: “The figures published by National Records of Scotland show a projected 317,000 extra households in Scotland in 2041 compared to 2016.

This is partly because Scotland’s population is projected to increase in this period, but also because of our ageing population.

“Older people are more likely to live alone than younger people, and as more people live alone or in smaller households, the number of households will rise at a faster rate than the population.”

The number of households headed by someone aged 70 or over is projected to increase by 58 per cent, compared with a rise of just two per cent for those under 70. Homes where people in the older age bracket live alone are expected to rise by 49 per cent over the next 25 years – with 146,000 male households and 247,000 female households predicted.

There will be major implications for housing, according to Age Concern.

Delia Henry, Age Scotland’s charity director, said: “These figures come as no surprise and should act as a wake-up call to government and councils across the country to the challenges ahead.

“Quite frankly, Scotland isn’t building enough homes to meet our rapidly ageing population. These need to include different sizes, type, tenure and locations.”

SNP MSP Angela Constance, former Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, said: “These latest stats make it abundantly clear we need powers over migration now in order to protect our public services and NHS.”