SFHA: housing associations need support to drive energy efficiency and insulate tenants against fuel price hikes
Published by SFHA for Scottish Federation Of Housing Associations in Housing and also in Environment, Health
The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has given a cautious welcome to the Scottish Government’s announcement today (Monday 3 March) of a £60 million fund to support home energy efficiency in Scotland (1). While funding to support energy efficiency is welcome, the SFHA has some concerns that it is earmarked to support investment in the private sector and not in the affordable rented housing sector. This is an issue that gives some cause for concern with fuel bills rising and the Scottish Government set to announce tough new energy efficiency standards that will only apply to social rented housing.
David Stewart, SFHA Policy Manager, said:
“As an organisation that is committed to the provision of quality, affordable homes, the SFHA welcomes any funding to increase the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes. The SFHA is a member of the Fuel Poverty Forum, which provides advice to the Scottish Government, and together with partner organisations we have argued for a fund to support the retrofit of energy efficiency measures in Scotland’s homes. It is also important to remember that the Scottish Government is providing this fund when there is no equivalent support in England.
“However, the SFHA has some concerns, that the funding will only support investment in the private sector. Housing associations and co-operatives already have to meet minimum energy efficiency standards, and these standards will be raised further when the Scottish Government publishes Energy Efficiency Standards for Social Housing. While housing associations and co-operatives provide the most energy efficient housing by tenure in Scotland (2), they need support if they are to lead on retrofit programmes to increase the energy efficiency of Scotland’s existing homes.”
Mr Stewart continued:
“Housing associations face a challenging funding environment. The UK Government’s welfare reforms pose major challenges and will have a significant financial impact on housing associations. While associations have the asset management and financial skills to drive retrofit programmes that create jobs and cut fuel bills, our members need the appropriate financial support to be able to do this. With the UK Government proposals to reform the Energy Company Obligation likely to lead to significant cuts in funding available to social landlords in Scotland, we are calling on the Scottish Government to support housing associations and co-operatives to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
“There is an opportunity for funding support to be made available through a share of the £60 million and through European Structural Funds, and we call on the Scottish Government to support our members to improve energy efficiency and cut fuel poverty in Scotland’s homes.”
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3. The SFHA was established in 1976 and has around 116 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. www.sfha.co.uk
4. 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.
5. Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.