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SFHA welcomes housing stats and acknowledges challenge

SFHA has welcomed the newly released Scottish Government statistics showing substantial increases in the delivery of new build affordable housing, with a 21 percent rise in the number of affordable homes delivered in Scotland during the last year. 

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SFHA has welcomed the newly released Scottish Government statistics showing substantial increases in the delivery of new build affordable housing. 

Latest figures show a 21 percent rise in the number of affordable homes delivered in Scotland during the last year, with 8,767 homes delivered for the year to September 2018 and a total of 80,104 affordable homes provided since 2007.

Per head of population, Scotland has 50% more affordable homes and more than five times as many social rented properties in Scotland than in England since 2014.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:

“Making sure everyone has a safe, warm and affordable home is central to our drive for a fairer and more prosperous Scotland. During the course of this Parliament we are investing more than £3 billion to deliver our target of at least 50,000 affordable, high-quality homes, including 35,000 homes for social rent. While we know this is an ambitious target, we have shown we can deliver on housing and we will continue to do so.”

In response to the positive news, Sally Thomas, SFHA Chief Executive said:

“I’m delighted that these figures show that housing associations are working hard to deliver much needed affordable homes, and in particular homes for social rent. We know from housing association waiting lists, and from our own research, that there is significant and consistent demand for social housing across Scotland.

“The Scottish Government’s commitment to 50,000 affordable homes over the course of the current parliament is impressive. Housing associations, as the main providers of new build affordable housing, have stepped up and are delivering high quality affordable homes.

“This investment also delivers other benefits. Jobs and training are provided when new homes are built, as are improved health and educational outcomes and safe, successful communities.”

Acknowledging that more work needs to be done, Sally Thomas continued:

“We know that continuing the work to supply more affordable housing will be a challenge. Development takes time – from engaging with communities to develop proposals, to buying land and getting planning consent. Today’s figures are a significant step in this direction.

Looking forward, Sally Thomas said: 

“There are a number of opportunities to ensure this happens.  The Planning Bill, which is currently going through the Scottish Parliament, has the potential to significantly expand delivery and we will continue to work with politicians on all sides to make this work.

“We will also be working hard to ensure the construction industry can modernise and attract the labour force it needs, both essential to delivering more homes. Our partnership with the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre will be a major aspect of this ambition.”

“We are committed to working with all political parties, and with partner organisations, to ensure housing associations can continue to deliver the homes Scotland needs for future generations.”

Shelter Scotland and Homes For Scotland, however, were dismissive of the figures.

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland said:

“The programme to develop 35,000 new homes for social rent by 2021 is one of the most important projects on the Scottish Government’s agenda. The latest figures show that with half the time gone only 11,825 social homes have been completed to date. This leaves much of the target on the drawing board and means we will have to see an acceleration in building if the target is to be met.  The more homes programme is a promise to Scotland that must not be broken. It represents the biggest investment in social housing since the 1970s and a chance to begin to restore the foundations of our housing safety net which has been badly damaged by decades of underinvestment.”

Homes for Scotland's Chief Executive, Nicola Barclay, said:

“Just under seven hundred extra homes over the last year is not going to solve our housing crisis. In order to return to the levels of a decade ago, we would need to see ten times this number on an annual basis. Huge social and economic opportunities exist for the Scottish Government to attract further housing investment from both within Scotland and elsewhere - if it can create and maintain the favourable conditions this requires.”