SFHA calls for more support to tackle ‘rural housing crisis’

SFHA calls for more support to tackle 'rural housing crisis'

 Sally Thomas

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has welcomed the Scottish Government’s Rural and Islands Housing Action Plan but signals more support is urgently needed

The Scottish Government have published the new Rural and Islands Housing Action Plan which will support their commitment to deliver 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, with 10% in rural and island areas.

Acknowledging the plan’s importance to rural and island members Sally Thomas, SFHA chief executive, welcomed the publication of the plan, but signalled that urgent action is needed to address the shortage of social housing in rural and remote areas of Scotland, as elsewhere.

She said: “This plan has been published in the context of a rural housing crisis, where councils such as Argyll and Bute have declared housing emergencies. The critical shortage of affordable housing in remote and rural Scotland is blighting rural communities and impacting people from all walks of life.

“Key workers and agricultural workers, young people, and families– people who are essential for rural communities to thrive – are being priced out, or pushed out, of rural areas due to a lack of affordable housing.”

She added: “So, we are concerned that this plan does not go far enough in terms of secure, sustained investment in delivering a steady supply of social housing in remote, rural and island communities.

“We want to see new and increased investment in the Rural and Islands Housing Fund as part of the Affordable Housing Supply Programme, bolder efforts to address rural construction capacity, skills, and supply chain challenges, as well as concerted efforts to tackle the fuel poverty that is disproportionately high in rural Scotland.”

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