Scottish Parliament committee begins inquiry into housing crisis

Scottish Parliament committee begins inquiry into housing crisis

A Holyrood committee returned from the February recess yesterday to begin a short inquiry into the Scottish Government’s Housing to 2040 strategy.

The Parliament’s Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee started with a roundtable of representatives from the Strategy Board for Housing to 2040 to probe progress on the Scottish Government strategy and route map.

The committee heard evidence from:

  • John Blackwood, chief executive, Scottish Association of Landlords;
  • Michael Cameron, chief executive, Scottish Housing Regulator;
  • Maureen Chalmers, community wellbeing spokesperson, COSLA;
  • Callum Chomczuk, national director, Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland;
  • Colin Stewart, chair, North of Scotland Regional Network of Tenants and Residents;
  • Sally Thomas, chief executive, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA);
  • John Mills, co-chair, Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO);
  • Jane Wood, chief executive, Homes for Scotland.

Watch the session in full below:

The second evidence session, currently planned for the 27th of February, will see further roundtable discussions with stakeholders including Living Rent, Communities Housing Trust, Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, the Scottish Property Federation, Shelter, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Citizens Advice Scotland, and Professor Ken Gibb from the University of Glasgow, to provide the Committee with additional views on Scotland’s housing landscape.

Published in March 2021, the strategy seeks to deliver on the Scottish Government’s ambition for everyone to have a safe, good quality and affordable home that meets their needs in the place they want to be.

However, three years after the plan’s publication, statistics show that Scotland’s housing emergency is intensifying.

Decreases have been reported in the number of new homes of all tenures being started and completed, with Scottish Government figures for the year to the end of September 2023 revealing a 6% fall in all sector completions and that starts are down by 24%.

With falling numbers of new homes being built and completed across several local authorities in recent months, a growing number have declared housing emergencies as building rates stall.

Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee convener, Ariane Burgess MSP, said: “Scotland’s housing emergency continues to grow, and the Committee want to understand what impact this is having on the ambitions set out by the Scottish Government’s Housing to 2040 strategy and whether the strategy provides the necessary tools to adequately respond.

“Our short inquiry will allow us to look at the strategies effectiveness in meeting housing needs, promoting placemaking, ensuring accessibility and affordability, fostering sustainability, and guaranteeing safety and quality.

“Everyone should have access to safe, sustainable, and affordable housing which can deliver thriving communities for generations to come in every part of Scotland and we hope our scrutiny of Scottish Government plans can ensure this aspiration remains on track.”

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