MSPs say more affordable homes and better data needed to tackle issues such as rising rents

An increased supply of affordable housing and better data are key to tackling the issues facing Scotland’s housing sector, according to a Scottish Parliament committee.

MSPs say more affordable homes and better data needed to tackle issues such as rising rents

James Dornan

Evidence gathered by the local government and communities committee as part of its scrutiny of the Fair Rents (Scotland) Bill and wider housing sector has highlighted the paucity of data available making it difficult to tackle these issues effectively, MSPs said.

The findings are part of the committee’s legacy report which reflects on its work in this session of the Scottish Parliament and looks to potential future committee work. The committee has said scrutiny of affordable housing supply and its wider impacts across the sector should be a key priority for any future committee.

The report also highlights issues with the current systems in place for people with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF). The committee has said more should be done by the UK and Scottish governments to ensure those with NRPF and insecure immigration status are aware of the support available to them.

James Dornan, who convened the local government and communities committee, said: “Our scrutiny of the housing sector across this session has made it clear that a lack of supply of affordable housing is impacting every aspect of this sector. We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to building 100,000 affordable homes by 2032 but we would urge any future committee to scrutinise closely the progress towards this goal.

“Although the committee did not feel it had sufficient evidence to come a decision on the general principles of the Fair Rents (Scotland Bill), it is clear that a lack of adequate data is holding back progress towards tackling rising rents.

“The £450 million package of measures put forward by the Scottish Government to address issues related to zero valued homes, as a consequence of the cladding used in their construction, is a positive step but this is an issue which should continue to be examined.”

He added: “Since 2016, our committee’s work has covered a huge amount of ground, including detailed scrutiny of major legislation such as the Fuel Poverty Bill, the Planning Bill and the Non-Domestic Rates Bill, and important inquiries into community empowerment, homelessness and Scotland’s empty homes.

“There is no doubt the success of our work has been down to the tremendous input we’ve had from people, communities and organisations right across Scotland, and we’d like to thank everyone who has engaged with us and helped inform our work.”

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