City of Edinburgh Council ramps up housing investment with £173m package
Living standards will be improved for thousands of residents in Edinburgh after councillors agreed a £173 million spending package to upgrade and build new homes.
At a meeting of the Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work committee on Thursday (9 March), decisions made during February’s budget meeting were built upon to agree a comprehensive spending programme for the year ahead.
Under the plans for the 2023/24 Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Capital Programme an extra £50m will be invested compared to last year. This will continue the city’s pipeline of new builds and ramp up capital investment into existing homes, including innovative energy efficiency upgrades.
The council is one of the first local authorities in Scotland to pilot a ‘whole house retrofit’ approach and this will be adopted fully in 2023. This will focus on improvements to the fabric of buildings and energy performance including design and development work for at least four multi-storey blocks. Retrofitting will not only help with issues like damp but help to lower tenants’ fuel costs and support Edinburgh’s net zero carbon by 2030 commitment, with largescale rewiring, roof replacements, new kitchens, bathrooms, windows, and doors due to be identified.
The spending programme is also set to involve improvements to common areas and stairwells, adapting homes in response to people’s health needs and transforming derelict sites and void properties into much needed new homes for tenants and people experiencing homelessness.
Councillor Jane Meagher, convener of the Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work Committee, said: “More than 3,000 older homes all over the city are set to benefit from improvements - making them greener, safer, and more accessible for generations to come. Our capital housing programme is about spending money where it is most needed so that we can help as many residents as possible live well in safe, warm homes.
“That means making council homes more energy efficient which will help to drive down bills. It means building brand new homes in response to the huge demand we’re seeing, and we need to keep listening to our tenants so that we can invest in those areas which will make the biggest difference to people’s lives.
“Post-pandemic, Brexit and in the face of a cost-of-living crisis and war in Ukraine, it remains a challenging time for residents, for council budgets and for construction at large. Like everyone else we’ve seen our running costs rise, but we must remain committed to tackling Edinburgh’s twin housing and homelessness crises. We also need to improve the standard of the housing we provide.
“I’m proud that, despite many pressures, we’ve had agreement from the Chamber to invest so substantially this year. As we move forward, we’ll need to continue to work with partners and make our case to the Scottish Government to maximise funding opportunities and keep our longer-term plans on track.”
The capital budget is prepared annually, following consultation with tenants and regular review of the council’s Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business Strategy. It is shaped by tenants’ and elected member priorities, the most pressing maintenance and improvements needed to keep homes modern and safe, statutory requirements and the commitments outlined in the council’s Business Plan.