Increasing the roads budget by £50million – while the housing budget falls by £204 million is “unjustifiable and a road to nowhere”, according to housing charity Shelter Scotland.
The charity is issuing a rallying call to politicians from all parties to “put the money where their mouths are” and make this a ‘Budget for Homes’ – it comes ahead of the week that the 2010/11 Scottish Budget enters its formal parliamentary stages and on the day the Budget Bill is introduced to Parliament.
Politicians report that housing is the biggest issue they’re contacted about (1), while a survey carried out by the charity last year showed 8 out of 10 people think the Scottish Government must make building more affordable housing to rent a top priority in the Budget. (2)
Despite this – and ever growing waiting lists (3) – housing remains the biggest loser in this upcoming year’s budget round.
Shelter Scotland is calling for an extra £200 million in the 2010/11 budget – just 0.6 per cent of the total Scottish budget. The charity believes the money would help meet the 10,000 affordable rented homes a year needed to meet demand.
The charity is urging MSPs from all parties to push for an increase in the budget for affordable rented homes – or face the consequences of continually growing waiting lists and more homeless households stuck in temporary accommodation.
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, housing and homelessness charity, said: “Scotland faces a housing crisis with hundreds of thousands in need of a home. Spending an extra £50 million on roads from this year to next – compared to a drop of £204 million – in the housing budget is completely unjustifiable and a road to nowhere.
“Workers are crying out for jobs, the house building industry has lost thousands of jobs, land is historically cheap and we have hundreds of thousands of people in need of a home. Ask yourself what more or better reasons are needed to increase funding for affordable rented homes?
“As an illustration, £1million would build just 25 metres of road – but it could help councils build up to 40 new houses (4). What would serve us better right now as our housing crisis deepens?
He added: “A quick win for John Swinney would be to reallocate the £50 million from the roads budget but to truly solve Scotland’s housing crisis, we need nearer £200 million. MSPs across all parties regularly say a lack of housing is the number one issue in their constituency postbag. It’s time for them to put the money where their mouths are and push for a substantial increase in the housing budget. 2010 must be a Budget for Homes.”
Notes to Editors:
- 1. The recent annual IPSOS/MORI poll showing the issues that MSPs receive most letters about, or approaches in surgeries, puts housing top of the pile, at 91%, followed by health 83%, education 73%, crime/law and order 64%, and transport 58%.
- 2. To read the press release click here
- 3. Scotland already faces a housing crisis with 200,000 households on waiting lists, 40,000 homeless households, and just over 9,500 households in temporary accommodation. For a full list of housing and homelessness statistics visit, the Shelter Scotland media room at http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/media/statistics
- 4. This is based on the maximum grant given by the Scottish Govenrment to councils to encourage council house-building. Councils have to use their own ‘prudential borrowing capacity’ to fund most of the costs. It is used as an illustrative figure only as most housing is currently built by housing associations.
- 5. Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. The charity helps 170,000 people a year across the UK fight for their rights, get back on their feet, and find and keep a home. We also tackle the root causes of Scotland’s housing crisis by campaigning for new laws, policies and solutions.
- 6. Spokespeople are available for interview, telephone the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line number is available for broadcast interviews.
- 7. For more information about Shelter Scotland visit www.shelter.org.uk
- Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shelter-Scotland/101558386889; Twitter – http://twitter.com/shelterscotland; Bebo – http://www.bebo.com/shelterscot. Or pick up a Twibbon at http://twibbon.com/join/ShelterScotland
Contact: Christina Cran, Nicola Baxter
Phone: 0844 515 2442