Scottish Budget – Time to Invest in Affordable Social Housing
Published by SFHA for Scottish Federation Of Housing Associations in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities
In advance of the Scottish Parliament debate on the Finance Committee’s report on the draft Scottish budget on Thursday 20th December, Scotland’s national body for housing associations and co-operatives has called on the Scottish Parliament to prioritise investment in affordable social housing.
The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has commended the housing elements of Finance Committee’s report into the draft budget, which supports the call for additional capital funding for housing. The Finance Committee also recognised the inadequacy of the £40,000 average grant level in enabling the construction of good quality, low carbon housing that is fit for Scotland’s people. (1)
Speaking in advance of the debate, Maureen Watson, Policy Director at the SFHA said:
“The recent Autumn statement by the UK Chancellor made available an additional £331 million for capital expenditure in Scotland. We are urging the Scottish Government to prioritise investment in genuinely affordable social housing with these funds.
“Using capital expenditure on building new social housing not only provides homes for many people on the lowest incomes and in housing need, but it also supports the objectives of the Scottish Budget in accelerating economic recovery, creating jobs which pay a social living wage and preventing health and social problems.
“In addition, housing associations make a significant contribution to the low carbon economy through energy efficiency measures in houses which reduce emissions and assist with fuel poverty.”
In 2011-2012 Scottish Government funding for housing associations to build new houses for social rent was 47% of what it was in 2009-10. Some local authority areas have less than 30% of the money they had from Government in 2009/10 to build homes for the ever increasing numbers of people in housing need. (2)
Maureen Watson continued:
“Adequate government subsidy is essential to the continued supply of genuinely affordable social housing. Housing is expensive to build, to live in and to manage and maintain. With adequate government subsidy Scottish housing associations can ensure that rents are set at levels that are genuinely affordable to low income households.
“Investing now in affordable housing, community regeneration and energy efficiency can also save funds at a later stage from other budgets, such as health, social care, education, justice and climate change. This is not only essential for Scotland to recover economically, but also for tackling poverty, deprivation and ill health.”
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- The Finance Committee’s report on the draft Scottish budget 2013-14 is at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/57685.aspx
- The figures are based on data given by Margaret Burgess MSP, Minister for Housing and Welfare, on 31 October 2012. http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/S4_ChamberDesk/WA20121031.pdfAn analysis of the figures is in an SFHA parliamentary briefing dated 21 November 2012 http://www.sfha.co.uk/component/option,com_docman/Itemid,37/gid,2738/task,doc_download/
- The SFHA’s parliamentary briefing for the debate on the Finance Committee report taking place on 20 December 2012 is at http://www.sfha.co.uk/component/option,com_docman/Itemid,37/gid,2739/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.