50,000 new homes target is official – focus is now on sector’s capacity to deliver, says GWSF

Margaret Burgess
Margaret Burgess

The Scottish Government’s new target for social and affordable housing supply for the next five years means the focus will now turn quickly to the sector’s capacity to deliver, says the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations.

The Forum says it expects Housing Minister Margaret Burgess to confirm to its Annual Conference in Glasgow today that the 50,000 new social and affordable homes pledge over five years, promised by Nicola Sturgeon at the SNP autumn conference, is now an official target for the Scottish Government if it is returned to power next May.

Warmly welcoming the new target, GWSF Chair Peter Howden said that key to the sector’s ability to deliver new homes would be full implementation of revised subsidy rates, as recommended to Ministers in summer by a working group which included representatives from GWSF, SFHA and ALACHO.

He said:“We know the Scottish Government will be facing real financial challenges after the UK spending announcement next week. But the subsidy recommendations were made because we knew the sector could no longer deliver 6,000 homes a year on existing subsidy rates. Now that the target is a minimum of 10,000 homes a year, it’s more crucial than ever that the sector has the capacity to build genuinely affordable social housing along with other rental and low cost home ownership options.”

“A programme of this scale signals the high political priority housing has now become. It also means community controlled housing associations can play their full part alongside larger regional and national associations and councils. Our members pride themselves on seeing the provision of new homes as one part of meeting the wider regeneration needs of their communities.”

Mr. Bowden added, “And such a programme can bring greater scope for funding tenemental improvement where this brings private housing into the social/affordable sector. Supporting associations to make open market purchases of flats, where this gives them majority control over a close, is another form of new supply which this expanded programme can bring.

“The Forum doesn’t underestimate the challenges but we look forward to working with our colleagues in local authorities and in government to make this substantial target a reality and so benefit the many thousands of people in acute housing need in our communities”

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