Investment in Social Housing Needed to Prevent Costly Problems
Published by SFHA for Scottish Federation Of Housing Associations in Housing and also in Health
Investment in social housing is required to prevent future problems with supply, services and suitability of housing, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) said today (Thursday 20th September 2012) as Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney prepares to deliver the Scottish draft Budget for 2013-14.
Investment in new affordable homes was cut by 18% last year, on top of large cuts in previous years, while more investment is required in housing adaptations for the elderly and the disabled, and home insulation, to prevent expensive interventions in future years to deal with housing shortages, illness, social problems and fuel poverty.
The SFHA is calling on the Government to:
Limit further cuts to the affordable housing budget, and to invest in new build social homes, to meet need (1) and boost the economy (2) ;Provide additional investment in housing adaptations for the elderly and disabled (£8m was invested this year) which studies show prevent costly hospital admissions and save the public purse £6 per £1 invested. (3)Increase investment in energy efficiency, to help the one third of Scottish tenants who live in fuel poverty. (4) (5)
SFHA Chief Executive Dr Mary Taylor said:
“Housing associations and co-operatives are facing unprecedented challenges in building new homes for the hundreds of thousands of Scottish families on waiting lists, insulating and improving existing homes, and providing services to vulnerable tenants. The forthcoming welfare reforms are also set to increase financial pressures on tenants and by extension, to social landlords.
“Yet our sector has the ability to provide tremendous value to the public purse, both by attracting private investment, and by providing services which prevent costly crisis spending by government in other areas, particularly health and social care.
“As I said at our reception in the Scottish Parliament this week, at a time when the Scottish Government is considering the budget, what you need is projects and services that deliver value, especially in difficult times. Housing associations and co-operatives can increase the value of anything you invest in our sector, economically and socially. Our clear message is that anything you spend through us, you’ll get back with added value.”
Dr Taylor continued:
“Housing makes a huge contribution to economic growth and must have a much higher priority in public investment decisions.
“Without serious investment in genuinely affordable housing and related support services, our poorest communities will be left exposed at an extremely vulnerable time. The combined impact of the recession and the reforms to the welfare system will have a high social cost. The Scottish Parliament must act now to set the parameters of Scotland’s economic recovery in terms of rebuilding communities, rebuilding lives and rebuilding Scotland’s future.”
For further information, contact Claire Munro on t: 0141 567 6244 m: 07771926778 or e: email@example.com
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**SFHA Chief Executive Dr Mary Taylor is available for interview. To arrange call the above numbers**
There are around 335,000 households on housing association and co-operative housing lists for affordable rented housing in Scotland. Scottish Government (2011), Housing Statistics for Scotland, Available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/08/30084023/1#chartten
In research conducted for the Scottish Government, construction has been shown to have a larger positive impact on the Scottish economy than any other industry. Monk, S., Tang, C. and Whitehead, C. (2010), What does the literature tell us about the social and economic impact of housing?, Report to the Scottish Government: Communities Analytical Services. Available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/313646/0099448.pdf
A study undertaken by Bield, Hanover and Trust housing associations last year showed cost savings of £5.50 to £6 per £1 invested in Stage 3 Adaptations in sheltered or very sheltered accommodation.24 The Scottish Government alone saved £3.50 to £4 for ever £1 it invested, with savings being made by preventing the need for hospital stays or for tenants to move to care homes. http://www.hsha.org.uk/SiteCollectionDocuments/Measuring%20the%20Social%20Return%20on%20Investment%20of%20Stage%203%20Adaptations%20and%20Very%20Sheltered%20Housing%20in%20Scotland%20Assured.pdf
Scottish Government (2010), Scottish House Condition Survey: Key Findings 2010, table 28. Available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/363471/0123368.pdf
SFHA is a partner in the Existing Homes Alliance, which has calculated that achieving the fuel poverty target would require an additional investment of £170m per year, in addition to what is already invested by Scottish and UK governments. To meet climate change targets would require additional investment of £100m per year.20 These figures equate to less than the cost of 2km (£173m) and 1 mile (£138m) respectively of the M74 extension, but the benefits would felt all over Scotland and (in the case of environmental targets) the wider world.
2013-14 Budget Evidence – SFHA available on our website here http://www.sfha.co.uk/component/option,com_docman/Itemid,37/gid,2476/task,doc_download/
The SFHA was established in 1976 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.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.Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.