Labour-run councils can ‘lead the way’ in delivering the homes Scotland needs

Kezia Dugdale
Kezia Dugdale

Scottish Labour has called for a co-ordinated approach to be brought forward across the country to support the delivery of affordable housing and to tackle homelessness.

Unveiling its manifesto for the upcoming council elections, party leader Kezia Dugdale warned that the Scottish Government will not deliver on housing unless it works in partnership with local councils.

The manifesto highlighted the record of Labour-run councils which have brought plans to construct thousands of homes across Scotland after a period of “drastically reduced grants”.

In the recent months Labour councils have announced they will build 1,000 homes in West Lothian, 16,000 homes in Edinburgh, while Aberdeen is considering plans to build 2,000 new council homes.

The manifesto also praises Fife for “leading the way” in showing how Labour councils can deliver the homes vitally needed for local residents.

“By bringing together planning and infrastructure investment experts with the construction industry, working with training and apprenticeships partners, alongside its own local government regeneration officials, Fife can champion a record of delivering 2,700 new homes since 2012,” it reads.

North Lanarkshire’s record on housing, with much heralded plans for up to 1,800 homes by 2021, was labelled “impressive”, alongside its efforts to tackle fuel poverty with a Collective Switching initiative and its award winning Syrian Resettlement Project Team.

On a national level, Scottish Labour said it would regulate private rents – capping rent increases so rogue landlords can’t charge rip off rents – and will consult on introducing a charter to drive up standards in the private rented sector.

It also wants powers to allow councils to compel councils to force the sale of derelict and brownfield land for development and councils to develop renewable district heating systems in partnership with local communities.

The manifesto said: “Labour believes that everyone deserves a safe, warm, comfortable home. A good home is key to our wellbeing and life chances; it can cut the attainment gap, improve our health, is vital for our mental health and will help Scotland achieve a fairer society. Public sector house building is key to supporting the construction industry, providing jobs for young people, and regenerating our towns and cities.

“That is why Labour wants a national house building plan, setting out its own vision of how government working with councils can tackle Scotland’s housing crisis.”

So far the Scottish Green Party and the Scottish Liberal Democrats have published their respective manifestos.

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