SFHA: Hard work of housing associations show hope at end of Scotland’s housing crisis

Mary Taylor
Mary Taylor

Housing associations are working hard to meet the challenges of helping to deliver the Scottish Government’s new affordable homes target though key issues could yet stand in the way, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) will say today.

SFHA chief executive Mary Taylor has previously welcomed the Scottish Government commitment to public investment in social housing.

Speaking at the SFHA’s member event at its Annual General Meeting today, she will comment on the key issues that could stand in the way of delivering the 50,000 affordable homes, which include availability and price of land, infrastructure, access to funding, the planning system, and a skilled workforce.

Dr Taylor is determined that the SFHA will continue to work constructively with the Scottish Government, MSPs, housing associations, local authorities and other partners to find solutions to these challenges.

After the formal AGM business, SFHA members will have the opportunity to discuss these issues and the delivery of the 50,000 affordable homes target with minister for local government and housing Kevin Stewart MSP.

Mary Taylor said: “We are delighted to welcome Mr Stewart to meet SFHA members today to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing us all in meeting our common goal of increasing the supply of affordable homes in Scotland.

“Housing targets represent more than just an amount of new build – people’s life chances, health and wellbeing are improved by securing a high quality, energy efficient, affordable home.

“Scotland desperately needs more affordable homes in order to solve its current housing crisis, and we acknowledge the Scottish Government’s commitment to increase supply by setting a new target of delivering at least 50,000 affordable homes, backed by more than £3 billion, over the lifetime of this Parliament.

“However, we are aware that other factors impact on the sector’s ability to deliver more affordable homes, and we will work with the Scottish Government, our members and other key partners in order to overcome these potential barriers.”

Kevin Stewart MSP added: “We have set a new target to deliver 50,000 affordable homes over the next five years, of which 35,000 are for social rent. That new housing will help to ensure that individuals and families across the country, wherever they choose to live and work, have access to good quality affordable housing. It also has economic benefits supporting, on average, around 14,000 full-time equivalent jobs per year and generating around £1.8 billion in economic activity – providing a direct boost to the construction industry.

“These are bold and ambitious targets, and I know that this will require hard work and determination across the housing sector to achieve. But we are starting from a good place, with a strong track record of delivery.

“Our previous 30,000 affordable homes target was exceeded by over 3,000 homes and this is a not insignificant achievement. It shows what can be done when we all work together. The targets we have set for this Parliament, especially that of 35,000 social houses, are more challenging and will require all of us to expand what we do well and to innovate.”

The SFHA’s member event will also play host to an expert panel of speakers who will discuss the post Brexit landscape and take part in a question and answer session with SFHA members. The panel will feature political commentator Iain Macwhirter of The Herald and Sunday Herald; Laura Cram, professor of European politics at the University of Edinburgh; Advocate Peter Sellar; and policy assistant at the National Housing Federation Lucy Pedrick.

Share icon
Share this article: