Scottish housing welcomes measures in draft Scottish budget

Draft budget commitments to invest £743m next year towards meeting its target of delivering 50,000 new affordable homes.

CIH Scotland and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations has welcomed housing measures in the draft Scottish budget.

The measures will look to build on targets set by the Scottish government for housebuilding and committed to pushing social security.

“We have consistently highlighted the negative impact of certain aspects of welfare reform on the housing sector and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government to deliver a social security system that has dignity and respect at its heart,” said Annie Mauger, CIH Scotland executive director.

With the recent acquisition of significant new powers, the Scottish Government’s future policy on social security is taking shape next year with the creation of a new Social Security Agency.

Mauger strongly welcomed the draft budget’s commitment to invest £743m next year towards meeting its target of delivering 50,000 new affordable homes over the lifetime of the current Scottish Parliament.

It was also, she said, encouraging to hear reconfirmation of the Scottish Government’s commitment to create a £50m ‘Ending Homelessness Together’ fund and to target this funding in accordance with the recommendations of the homelessness and rough sleeping action group.

CIH Scotland, she said, will continue to feed into the work of this important group to enable it to make a real difference.

“In particular, we would highlight the significant success of Housing First initiatives across Scotland and the UK, as demonstrated by a special report recently published by CIH Scotland,” said Mauger.

“Our hope is that the Scottish Government, guided by the homelessness and rough sleeping action group, will look seriously at further Housing First initiatives as a potential target for investment of the ‘Ending Homelessness Together’ fund over the forthcoming year,” she said.

Sarah Boyack, SFHA Head of Public Affairs, said: “The increase of £138.9m for the More Homes Programme is a very welcome announcement for the social housing sector.

“This funding – and the increase in the planning budget of £4.1m – should further assist our members in contributing towards the Scottish Government’s 50,000 affordable homes target and help to house more people who are in desperate need of a home of their own.

“The investment will also secure jobs and training opportunities, key challenges identified by our members in our Brexit report earlier this year.

“Access to the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland and the Building Scotland Fund will be important for Scotland’s construction industry to secure new, innovative housing.”

Ms Boyack continued: “While we welcome the government’s commitment to invest £60m in a Low Carbon Innovation Fund to deliver innovative low carbon energy infrastructure solutions, we are disappointed to see that there is only an increase of £0.m in funding in the Draft Budget for fuel poverty and energy efficiency.

“The recent Scottish Household Condition survey showed that there are more housing association households in fuel poverty compared to the national average and, in order to tackle this and invest in energy efficiency, our members will require further funding.”

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