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SFHA: Programme for Government recognises social housing’s role in Covid recovery

Today's Programme for Government, announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, contained some welcome announcements for the social housing sector.

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The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has welcomed the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government, announced on Tuesday 7 September, and said it acknowledges the “significant role” of the social housing sector in the country’s recovery from Covid. However, SFHA added that the investment needed to support the new Affordable Housing Supply Programme must be kept under review to realise the Scottish Government’s target of 110,000 affordable homes by 2032. 

SFHA Chief Executive Sally Thomas said: 

“It is crucial that we focus on delivering a fair and equal social and economic recovery from the pandemic, and the confirmation today of the target of 110,000 affordable homes by 2032 is a welcome acknowledgement of the significant role our sector has to play. 

“However, the cost of building homes is rising, and our members are increasingly experiencing supply chain issues, so we are calling on the government to keep funding under review throughout this parliament to ensure it remains adequate.” 

Sally Thomas continued: 

“The commitment to £1.8 billion for energy efficiency upgrades and renewable heating deployment is welcome, but will not be sufficient for the scale of improvement required to meet ambitious climate change targets. With over a third of social housing tenants living in fuel poverty, it’s critical that achieving net zero emissions in social housing doesn’t exacerbate this; no tenant should be left with costs they can’t afford or heating systems that don’t work for them. We need a clear action plan which goes beyond today’s announcements and responds to the recent Zero Emissions in Social Housing Taskforce report. The new National Public Energy Agency is a promising development, and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government to take the next steps on this vital issue”. 

 Sally Thomas continued: 

“We note the intention to introduce a Rented Sector Strategy before the end this year. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to understand its intentions in this area. We will also work with the Scottish Government to ensure the key role played by social landlords in the delivery of social care services is recognised in the National Care Services Bill. 

Sally Thomas concluded: 

“There is much to welcome in today’s Programme for Government. With the strength, stability and social purpose of our members, the social housing sector can help the Scottish Government to deliver a fair and equal social and economic renewal from Covid – starting with delivering more safe, warm, energy efficient affordable homes – if we have the right legislative and funding environments.” 

For more information, please contact SFHA Director of Public Affairs and Communications Carolyn Lochhead e: clochhead@sfha.co.uk m: 07510 924340  

Notes to editors:  

  1. SFHA is the national membership body for, and voice of, housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland. It has 137 members across the housing association and co-operative movement.   

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