SCOTLAND’S lack of capacity to meet current and future demand for social housing is the key concern of a new report issued today by four influential housing sector bodies.
The ‘Housing Report for Scotland’ was jointly produced by the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO), CIH Scotland, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) and Shelter Scotland.
The report says that despite very welcome new money being added to the Scottish Government’s three-year programme, the impact of low grant rates, borrowing constraints and welfare reform will seriously affect long-term supply of social housing. It warns that these constraints could even affect delivery of homes planned under the current programme.
This is the first in a series of reports which will keep a close eye on the Scottish Government’s performance against its housing pledges.
The report’s authors agreed that the Scottish Government had largely met its commitments on homelessness and on making the best use of social sector stock. They also concluded that promising progress had been made to ensure health and social care bodies engaged better with the housing sector.
Supply targets will probably be met in the shorter term, the report says, but it points out that this is partly due to the main measure being the number of ‘new home completions’ – which were funded under the previous, much more generous grant regime.
The report points to a mixed performance on improving standards in private housing. Legislation on protecting tenancy deposits and stamping down on charging illegal premiums was widely welcomed, says the report, but much progress remains to be made before there is effective regulation of the private rented sector.
On raising energy efficiency standards in private housing, the commitment to introduce minimum standards was the right one, says the report, but the real measure of achievement will be the pace at which meaningful progress is made towards implementing the new regime.
Speaking on behalf of the report’s authors, Alan Ferguson, Director of CIH Scotland, says:
“Our aim is to hold the Scottish Government to account on its housing pledges to the people of Scotland and, two years on since publishing its housing strategy, we think the overall performance is good.
“But supply of new homes is always going to be a key issue and we believe it is crucial to raise our serious concerns over Scotland’s lack of capacity to build enough new social homes in the near future – especially if current grant rates remain unchanged.
“With hundreds of thousands of households already on waiting lists for social housing, we believe this is a critical matter on which the Scottish Government must change its approach.”
The Housing Report for Scotland can be seen here http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/professional_resources/policy_library/policy_library_folder/a_housing_report_for_scotland
ALACHO Policy Manager, Jim Hayton – 07795 090211
CIH Scotland Director, Alan Ferguson – 07515 528630
SFHA Policy Director, Maureen Watson – 07887 888 351
Notes to Editors:
1. Shelter Scotland helps over half a million people a year struggling with bad housing or homelessness – and we campaign to prevent it in the first place. We’re here so no-one has to fight bad housing or homelessness on their own. For advice and support visit www.shelterscotland.org or call 0808 800 4444.
2. Spokespeople are available for interview – call the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line is available for broadcast interviews.
3. Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/shelterscotland Twitter – http://twitter.com/shelterscotland
Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
Contact: Shelter Scotland