THE Scottish Government has unveiled plans to deliver 100,000 affordable homes over the next decade.
It forms part of its housing to 2040 strategy, which lays out what the government wants housing and communities to and feel like for the people of Scotland and actions on how to get there.
Key priorities in the strategy, which the Scottish Government said will be taken forward subject to the outcome of the election, include:
- Delivering 100,000 more affordable homes by 2032, with at least 70% of these being for social rent. This target would support about £16 billion in total investment and up to 14,000 jobs a year.
- Setting a single set of standards for housing quality and accessibility, no matter whether a home is owned or rented.
- Tackling high rents in the private sector and supporting fair, accessible private and social rental sectors through a rented sector strategy and housing bill.
- Decarbonising heating in all homes in line with Scotland’s climate ambitions, ensuring this is done in a fair and just way, including by adapting and retrofitting existing homes.
- Aiming for all new homes delivered by registered social landlords and local authorities to be zero emissions by 2026.
- Establishing a new fund to help local authorities bring empty homes back into residential use.
- Supporting housing development in rural and island areas, helping to prevent depopulation and enabling communities to thrive.
- Continuing with our updated plan to end homelessness and rough sleeping once and for all.
- Undertaking a comprehensive audit of our current housing and homelessness legislation to understand how best to realise the right to adequate housing.
Communities secretary Aileen Campbell said, “Homes are not simply bricks and mortar. They support people’s health, wellbeing and life chances, can help to tackle poverty and climate change, and are a major investment in the economy. Housing policy is essential in helping us achieve our ambitions for a fairer, more equal Scotland.
“Housing to 2040 sets out a vision for what we want homes and communities to look and feel like for people regardless of their stage in life or where they live. It is a vision where homes are affordable for everyone, where standards are the same across all tenures, where homes have easy access to green space and essential services, and where homelessness, child poverty and fuel poverty have all been eradicated.
“We have already delivered almost 100,000 affordable homes since 2007, and before the pandemic we were on track to meet our target of 50,000 during this parliament. The pandemic interrupted the housing sector’s ability to hit this target, but we are committed to meeting it as soon as it is safe to do so. From there, we will start our new ambition to deliver a further 100,000 affordable homes by 2032.
“Our strategy shows how we will take this forward while tackling empty homes and poor housing, increasing energy efficiency and working to eradicate fuel poverty.
“In developing housing to 2040 we have engaged with more than 2,000 people, including at 22 events across Scotland and through nationwide consultation. They told us what a good home and a vibrant community looks and feels like, and I’d like to thank them for their input.
“After a year when we have all seen the value of having a warm, safe place to live, this new long-term strategy will ensure every person in Scotland has a home that meets their needs.”
Sally Thomas, chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), said, “This is an ambitious 20-year housing strategy, and there is much to commend. It is SFHA’s ambition that everyone in Scotland has a safe, warm, energy efficient, affordable home, now and in the future, and the Scottish Government’s strategy could help to realise this.
“SFHA has long campaigned for an affordable housing supply programme commitment beyond one parliamentary term in order to tackle housing need and to maintain progress, so we really welcome the priority to deliver 100,000 more affordable homes by 2032.
“It is vital that our members can also invest in their existing stock, and we are pleased to see the commitment to supporting social landlords to do so, particularly important if all homes are to meet the same quality standards in the future. We welcome the proposal to mainstream standards of accessibility in order to deliver homes that are future proof and adapt to people’s changing needs.
“We look forward to seeing further detail of the strategy’s proposals and to working with the next government to support our members to deliver great quality homes that meets people’s needs and aspirations in the decades ahead.”