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SFHA responds to Scottish Budget announcement

Scottish Government announces its 2019/20 budget.

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In the 2019/20 Scottish Budget published yesterday, the Scottish Government announced more than £825m of its total £3bn of investment to deliver 50,000 affordable homes will be spent next year.

This increase is mostly down to an increase of Housing Association Grant (HAG) being required as the programme advances.

However, SFHA is disappointed no further funding was made for adaptations when our sector has a growing need for more investment to enable people to stay in their homes.

Sally Thomas, SFHA chief executive, commenting on the announcement said:

“We are pleased to see the annual percentage of the £3bn allocated to meet the 50,000 affordable homes target jump up next year to £825m.  It shows the programme is accelerating towards meeting the target.  This is in no small part due to the new build programme of Scotland’s housing associations.

“The £50m fund to tackle homelessness previously announced is also welcomed. In order to make rapid rehousing for homeless people work, it will be vital that much of this fund supports people to maintain their permanent tenancies; without this, ensuring a long term home and independence for people who most need it cannot be guaranteed. Housing associations have a 90% success rate in sustaining long term tenancies for previously homeless people; it is essential this is at least maintained and where possible increased.”

She added:

“Independence in their own home is a priority for many of those with disabilities across the country, and all of us as we age.  So it is disappointing to see the adaptations budget stand still at £10m.  SFHA research earlier this year identified an annual shortfall of £7m for adaptations required in housing association homes to enable people to stay in their homes, return to them after hospitalisation and promote physical and mental wellbeing.  

“Housing associations play an increasingly significant part in Scotland’s ambitions to be a fairer and more equal society. We are pleased to see measures in the budget which recognise this. We will continue to work closely with government to ensure that together we can create the legislative and financial environment which enables housing associations to maximise their contribution.”