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Sun January 16 2022

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Scottish government urged to boost affordable housing

27 Jan 21 Affordable housebuilding should be “the cornerstone of Scotland’s recovery”, according to a joint letter sent to the finance secretary by more than 25 organisations.

Kate Forbes is being urged to make affordable housing the cornerstone of Scotland's recovery
Kate Forbes is being urged to make affordable housing the cornerstone of Scotland's recovery

The alliance of advocacy, support and housing organisations has written to cabinet secretary for finance Kate Forbes, asking her to make social and affordable homes the cornerstone of Scotland’s recovery in this week’s budget.

The organisations supporting the call include Shelter Scotland, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), the Chartered Institute of Housing, Citizens Advice Scotland, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the Alliance), Scottish Women’s Aid, Energy Action Scotland and other housing associations, tenants’ organisations and charities.

SFHA said that independent academic research shows that to reduce housing need, Scotland needs a minimum of 53,000 new affordable homes, including at least 37,100 for social rent, between 2021 and 2026.

The letter says that greater supply of high-quality housing will “impact directly on our health, happiness and wellbeing”. As well as combatting bad housing and homelessness, building more social homes will reduce child poverty, improve mental and physical health, and help Scotland to meet its climate targets, it adds.

Sally Thomas, SFHA chief executive, said: “A commitment from the Scottish government to delivering the 53,000 affordable homes that Scotland needs during the next parliament is critical to ensuring the country’s social and economic recovery from Covid-19.

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“Last week’s Social Renewal Advisory Board Report made recommendations for a fairer and more equal post-pandemic Scotland, including making sure everyone has access to a safe, warm, affordable home, and the government can realise this by agreeing to another ambitious housing programme.”

Alison Watson, director of Shelter Scotland said: “In this week’s Budget, we’re looking for a clear statement of intent from the Scottish government. The last year has shown us that providing quality housing is a matter of life and death. We can only end the housing emergency if we build enough good quality homes for everyone who needs them. This is the single most important step ministers can take towards a safer, healthier, more equal future.”

Callum Chomczuk, national director of CIH Scotland, said: “One of the only positives to come from this crisis has been the ability of our political leaders to think differently and take radical action.

“So as the vaccine is rolled out and we look towards opening up in the spring and summer, we can’t go back to business as usual. We need to use our experience to build an even more ambitious plan for affordable housing at the heart of Scotland’s economic and social recovery.

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