Housing is highest political priority for a generation, says GWSF

GWSFThe announcement of a programme of 50,000 affordable homes over five years is an indication that housing investment is a greater priority than at any other point in the lifetime of the Scottish Parliament, and possibly for a generation, according to the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF).

The programme, announced by first minister Nicola Sturgeon last Thursday, will be instigated if the current Scottish administration wins the 2016 Election.

Peter Howden, GWSF chair, said: “The Forum warmly welcomes this highly significant announcement. It has been generally acknowledged that the current programme has not been an ambitious one, but an increase of two thirds at a time of increasing financial restraint is a huge step forward.

“This announcement has been made even before the outcome of the UK Spending Review in which Scotland is expecting a big cut in its block grant. You’d have to go a long way back to find affordable housing the main headline on the opening day of a party conference in Scotland. The only conclusion you can draw is that housing is now a greater political priority here than it has been for a very long time – possibly even a generation or more.

“The indication that more than £3 billion will be invested in the 50,000 homes suggests that the per unit subsidy for the social housing part of the programme will be in line with the recommendations of the Subsidy Working Group, though actual confirmation of this would be very welcome.

“A programme of this scale should mean that quality is not compromised and, critically, that a diverse range of providers will be able to play their part. This includes community controlled housing associations, some of whom have difficult sites in their patch which may be more expensive to develop.

“It should also mean that in areas where both the council and local housing associations are keen to build new homes, there is sufficient funding for all providers to play a proactive part in the programme.

“We also expect to see that funding of this scale will include a new programme of comprehensive tenemental improvement which brings poor private sector housing into affordable housing supply.”


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