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Affordable housing for the future

Scottish Communities Secretary Angela Constance, is due to speak to housing sector members at the Chartered Institute of Housing Conference, reflecting on the work carried out by More Homes Scotland.

In the speech she will look at how the housing sector and government can work together, to safeguard against the uncertainties created by Brexit and ensure affordable housing is available to all who need it.

Reflecting on a decade of success on housing and regeneration, Ms Constance will set out the challenges that lie ahead and how government and the housing sector might work together to respond. More Homes Scotland is the overarching approach to bring together all activity to increase supply. Some £3Bn has been invested by the Scottish government to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes, of which 35,000 will be for social rent, by March 2021 (exceeding our previous target to deliver 30,000 affordable homes by 2016).

The Cabinet Secretary will highlight:

  • The need to take action to address an ageing population, and ensuring more suitable housing and services to help individuals continue to live independently and at home
  • Tackling the damaging effects of UK Government’s welfare cuts, and meeting the challenge of combating child poverty
  • Safeguarding against the impact of Brexit, which could see a loss of 8.5% of GDP in Scotland by 2030 and threaten 5,000 EU citizens working in the construction sector

Speaking ahead of the conference Ms Constance said: “High quality affordable housing is about more than just bricks and mortar – it provides safe, warm homes, helps create a fairer Scotland, and delivers great economic benefits. As we look to the challenges that lie ahead, that will become ever more important.

“The UK Government’s approach to Brexit threatens jobs, prosperity, and workers. Welfare cuts are plunging more people into poverty. And an ageing population presents big questions in how we support independent living and increase a flexible housing supply.

“Against that backdrop we are taking firm action. Since 2007 we have delivered almost 71,000 affordable homes and committed to delivering at least 50,000 over this Parliament, and we are spending £100M a year protecting people from the worst impacts of the UK Government’s welfare cuts – cuts that threaten to push more children into poverty. But there is more we can and must do.

“We have given Councils long term planning assumptions totaling £1.75Bn to March 2021 – providing the guarantee needed to deliver our ambitions. As we look to beyond 2021, I want to begin engagement with the housing sector on the best ways to deliver affordable homes that meet the needs of our changing population. We will build on the great work already done as we take new and innovative approaches to ensure another decade of success.”

During her speech, Communities Secretary Angela Constance will set out a priority for everyone in Scotland to live in a high quality, sustainable home, which is affordable and meets their needs. Ms Constance will reiterate the importance of the four housing and regeneration outcomes and suggest how these might underpin the government’s approach:

  • A well-functioning housing system, where homes are first and foremost for living in, rather than for storing up wealth.
  • New and existing homes reaching high quality and sustainability standards, with all householders benefiting from the same high standards of accommodation and consumer protection.
  • Homes that meet people’s needs, with the housing market becoming more flexible to allow people to meet their changing needs, including new housing for older people.
  • Sustainable communities grow and develop, with people able to afford to stay in the communities they grew up in, if that is what they want.
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