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Rishi Sunak says no extra cash to help Aberdonians losing their Raac-riddled homes

Hundreds of residents in Torry are distraught after learning they must leave their homes permanently.

Owners of former council homes in Torry are being recommended to hire structural engineers to assess Raac in their properties. Image: Alastair Gossip/DC Thomson
Raac has been found in roof panels in hundreds of homes in Torry. Image: DC Thomson.

Rishi Sunak warned there will be no extra UK Government cash to help hundreds of Aberdeen residents being forced to leave Raac-ridden homes.

Aberdeen City Council broke the news that hundreds of residents in Torry must permanently move out after a behind-closed-doors meeting on Thursday morning.

It followed the discovery of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete in roof panels, known as Raac.

The local authority agreed to a £3 million programme to relocate tenants from 299 council homes “as soon as possible” due to the collapse-risk concrete.

The Scottish Government has been “approached” for cash support, but it is understood any central funding might depend on funding from Westminster.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks to the media during a visit to Baker Hughes in Montrose, Angus. Image: PA.

The P&J asked the prime minister if extra cash will be found while he spoke to media on the first day of Scottish Tory party conference in Aberdeen.

He said it was a matter to be dealt with locally in the first instance but that the Scottish Government had received “record” funding.

But the Scottish Government’s block grant has fallen by 1.2% in real terms since 2022-23 and this week said it passed a “challenging budget requiring difficult choices”.

In a briefing to journalists, the prime minister said: “The Scottish Government has a considerable amount of resources.

“How they choose to invest and deploy them is obviously question for them.”

He later accused the SNP of focusing on the “wrong priorities” including “obsessively focusing on independence” instead of public services like the NHS and schools.

Tears and disbelief

Angry families reacted with tears and disbelief after learning they will be evacuated permanently from their homes in Balnagask.

Engineers advised the properties were “high risk”, and it is hoped many residents will be in new properties by the end of the summer.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said he knows there will be discussions taking place between Scottish ministers and Aberdeen City Council around support available.

He added: “The Scottish Government does have that highest ever block grant that any Scottish Government has had since devolution so we’ve already seen since the budget was originally presented that there has been more money available for councils.”

One-to-one support

Housing Minister Paul McLennan said all tenants will be receiving one-to-one assessment of their onward housing needs.

He added: “Aberdeen City Council has made the decision to re-home the affected households as part of their long-term plans to remediate the Raac discovered.

“The Scottish Government and the Scottish Housing Regulator will continue to keep in close contact with the council to ensure all of those affected receive the appropriate support.

The homes are in the Balnagask area of Torry. Image: DC Thomson.

“The Scottish Government’s Cross Sector Working Group continues to meet regularly to ensure knowledge and best practice can be shared across the those sectors affected by Raac and we continue to engage with local authorities and social landlords to understand the extent of Raac. We want everyone in Scotland to be safe in their homes, workplaces and other buildings.”

Read more on the Torry Raac crisis: