RESPONDING to the news (Wednesday 18th July 2012) that a seven per cent shrinkage in the construction sector has pushed Scotland back into recession, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has issued an urgent call for greater investment in affordable house building (1).
Investing in new affordable housing would help to tackle a fall in the number of housing associations and co-operative properties built last year, due to shrinking public and private funding. (2)
Dr Mary Taylor, CEO of the SFHA, said:
“Economists recognise that one of the best ways of boosting economic activity, and putting people directly into employment and apprenticeships, is to invest in new affordable housing.
“This is also one of the most socially responsible areas in which government can invest public funds.
“We are currently aiming to build 6,000 new affordable homes a year in Scotland (by councils and housing associations). Even if we achieve this target, it will take 60 years to clear the current housing association waiting list of 335,000 households. (3)
“Our members have a range of ‘shovel ready’ housing projects ready to go ahead if the right funding is there. They have the expertise to deliver the good quality affordable housing that Scotland needs, and can lever in up to half the cost of a new-build home from private finance. The construction sector in Scotland is now struggling.
“The SFHA calls on the UK and Scottish Governments to make more funding available as a matter of social, and economic, urgency.
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2) The total number of housing association completions in the financial year 2011-12 decreased by 7 per cent compared to total completions in the financial year 2010-11 (from 5,111 to 4,776). Housing Statistics for Scotland: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Housing-Regeneration/HSfS
3) There is a serious shortage of quality affordable housing across Scotland, with approximately 335,000 households on waiting lists. Statistics supplied to SFHA by the Scottish Housing Regulator (5 July 2011) based on data in the 2009-10 Annual Performance and Statistical Return.
4) The SFHA was established in 1975 and has around 170 members providing affordable housing and wider community services in Scotland, as well as a further 200 commercial members. The SFHA is owned by its membership and exists to support the work of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland by providing services, advice and good practice guidance.
5) The SFHA is the voice of the principal builders and managers of new affordable housing for rent in Scotland. Housing Associations own and manage around 40% of the country’s affordable rented housing stock, over a quarter of a million homes across Scotland.
6) Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.