Scottish Government urged to rethink housing cuts
Housing bodies are calling on the Scottish Government to use extra funds to build more affordable housing as politicians debate the Scottish Budget Bill in parliament today.
The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, Shelter Scotland, the Scottish Building Federation, the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland, the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers and UCATT are seeking changes to the Scottish Budget Bill for 2012/13.
The Bill currently includes a 30 per cent cut for affordable housing, one of the biggest cuts anywhere across government.
Dr Mary Taylor, SFHA chief executive, said: ‘Housing associations and co-operatives have already proved they can use government investment, added to private finance they raise themselves, to build large numbers of high quality, energy efficient housing, that will serve our communities well.
‘Housing associations and construction firms are also one of the major employers of apprentices – important to bear in mind at a time of skyrocketing youth unemployment.
‘We urge the Scottish Government to use the extra money at its disposal this year to invest in quality affordable housing that will provide a lasting benefit to Scotland.’
Jim Strang, chair of CIH Scotland, said: ‘We know times are tough but housing took a disproportionately substantial cut in the draft budget.
‘With grant per unit now at incredibly low levels, even an additional £30 million annually could produce a further 900 to 1,000 affordable homes a year, with the majority of them social rented.
‘It’s a pity, then, that the Scottish Government didn’t take advantage of the low grant rates to procure more homes – levering in a lot more private finance – for such little public money.’
The group of six has already sent a joint letter to cabinet secretary for infrastructure and investment Alex Neil and housing minister Keith Brown to urge they use extra money from the coalition government to reverse cuts to the hard-hit housing budget.