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SFHA, CIH Scotland and Shelter Scotland make joint call for increase in funding to build 53,000 social and affordable homes

SFHA, CIH Scotland, Shelter Scotland call for affordable housing supply levels to be increased from 50,000 homes over five years to 53,000.

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In a joint response to the draft Infrastructure Investment Plan, SFHA, CIH Scotland, and Shelter Scotland have called for the Scottish Government to increase affordable housing supply levels from the current target of 50,000 homes to 53,000 homes in the next parliamentary term to address existing and newly arising housing need. This call is in line with joint research published by the three organisations in June 2020.

The response acknowledges the capital funding outlined in the draft IIP represents a 16% increase on capital investment included in the current programme and will be supported by additional spend through Financial Transactions (FTs) and Transfer of Management of Development Funding (TMDF).

However, the organisations have sought clarity on the total funding that will be available to deliver new affordable homes and assurances that grant rates will be uprated to keep rents affordable for tenants on low incomes, given social landlords’ requirement to meet new, and higher, standards on new build housing.

The organisations note in their response that the 2020 Programme for Government commits to new standards for homes delivered with Scottish Government subsidy, including adequate space inside to allow people to work or study from home, outdoor space to allow residents to sit or socialise and better digital connectivity.  All of which will increase the standard and cost of new build affordable housing.

Sally Thomas, Chief executive, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations: “The Scottish Government has made good progress tackling housing need in Scotland since 2016, and it’s vital this – and the ambition driving it – is maintained and not lost or slowed. The effects of the coronavirus pandemic will have increased the demand for affordable housing already there, so it’s critically important that social landlords are able to build the 53,000 homes required during the next programme to keep up with existing and future need.

“We welcome the government’s planned increase of 16% for capital funding of affordable housing and look forward to seeing the full funding details as well as to continuing discussions on grant rates and quality standards.”

Callum Chomczuk, National director, CIH Scotland, said: “Our joint research published earlier this year makes it clear that Scotland needs at least 53,000 social and affordable homes over the next five years. We welcome the proposed 16% uplift detailed in the draft Infrastructure Investment Plan and look forward to confirmation of additional money being made available through Financial Transactions and Transfer of Management of Development Funding. However, with the government committing to new higher standards of social and affordable housing, it is vital that social landlords are given an appropriate grant that covers the costs of building 53,000 social and affordable homes.”

Alison Watson, Director, Shelter Scotland, said: “By the end of the next parliament, we want to see affordable housing need going into decline. To achieve that, the Scottish Government must commit to building 37,100 homes for social rent. We welcome proposals for additional funding towards this goal, but this is about more than pounds spent. The only meaningful measure of success is delivering quality, affordable homes for the people who need them most in the places where they need them.”

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