Funding call to boost number of island affordable homes

Liam McArthur MSP
Liam McArthur MSP

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have called on the Scottish Government to introduce a new fund to support the development of affordable housing for Scotland’s islands.

Ahead of a debate in Holyrood today, the party has lodged an amendment to try to get cash earmarked for island homes, the Press & Journal has reported.

A dedicated fund could make a “huge difference” to island communities, according to one of the party’s MSPs.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Liberal Democrat Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said: “Access to quality housing is a basic right. We know that there are issues with shortages of affordable housing right across Scotland but island communities face specific challenges.

“In Orkney far too many households are struggling with fuel poverty and there are real issues with housing supply. A dedicated islands housing fund could make a huge difference.”

The Scottish Government intends to build 50,000 affordable homes by 2020. Between 2012 and 2016, they built 33,490 affordable homes, of which 22,523 were for social rent.

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott added: “If Scotland’s islands are to encourage young families to stay and build thriving economies new housing is badly needed.

“Shetland’s housing association has just received more than 180 applications for 14 new homes.

“An island housing fund will reduce the waiting time for affordable homes that are needed. This would be a start but so much more is needed.”

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