Edinburgh council criticised for ‘removing’ rough sleepers for Taylor Swift fans ahead of Eras Tour stop

Taylor Swift performs during her Eras Tour in Stockholm, Sweden on May 17  (TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Ima)
Taylor Swift performs during her Eras Tour in Stockholm, Sweden on May 17 (TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Ima)

Several homeless people have reportedly been taxied out of Edinburgh to Aberdeen and Glasgow to make room for tourists ahead of Taylor Swift’s performances next month.

Shelter Scotland told the BBC that homeless individuals it supports were sent via taxi to Aberdeen and Glasgow amid a housing emergency - while one person was offered temporary accommodation as far away as Newcastle.

There was no evidence that homeless people were being removed from accommodation they were already staying at.

The housing charity wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “Homeless families and tourists being forced to compete for the same accommodation is further evidence of The City of Edinburgh Council and indeed most of Scotland's housing emergency.”

Speaking to the BBC, Shelter Scotland director Alison Watson said it was “a blatant injustice” for rough sleepers who are now “in direct competition” with the mass of Swifties heading to the city.She told the broadcaster: “In Edinburgh that emergency now places people experiencing homelessness in direct competition with tourists; a blatant injustice.”

The charity director added that families are already hearing they have to leave the city if they require temporary accommodation, even though the concerts are still a week away.

Watson also highlighted that the fault lies not with the tourists but with the Scottish government for failing to provide a solid solution. Similar disruptions for rough sleepers are expected to happen again in August when the city welcomes the Edinburgh Fringe festival.

Some 200,000 fans are set to descend on the Scottish capital over three days between June 7 and 9. Scottish Gas Murrayfield Stadium will host what is expected to be the biggest of Scotland’s stadium shows in its history.

Fans arriving for Swift’s Eras tour concerts have been met with eye-watering prices for hotel rooms in Edinburgh, as competition over accommodation has taken flight ahead of the performances.

Housing convenor Councillor Jane Meagher, 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.”

Edinburgh City Council insisted, however, it is absolutely not “moving tenants out of temporary tourist accommodation to make way for Taylor Swift fans”.

Hotels are reserved for homeless individuals on a weekly basis and are considered a "last resort" solution, providing only short-term accommodation.

After Edinburgh, Swift is to peform in Liverpool, Cardiff, London and Dublin throughout June.

Her tour is expected to boost UK spending by £1billion.

For the 15-day UK leg alone, approximately 1.2 million tickets had gone up for sale.