Saturday, 29 April 2017

SNP promises 'greener Scotland' if housing benefit moved north

The Scottish National Party’s manifesto calls for housing benefit control to be moved to Scotland.

The manifesto, which was published Wednesday 13 April, wants Scotland to be able to determine its own rules on housing benefits with devolution of the legislative responsibility.

It promises a greener Scotland with energy efficient homes, as the party hope to regain power in the upcoming election.

The manifesto pledges to help housing associations take forward schemes with a new Warm Homes Fund, designed to improve renewable energy in homes and reduce energy costs for families.

Since taking office, the SNP claims that it has launched ‘a revival in house building’ with 3,300 homes funded by the Scottish Government. It promises to maintain this, with 5,000 new council homes in the next parliamentary term, creating an estimated 8,000 jobs.

Overall, its aim is to build over 6,000 new socially-rented houses each year, aided by the National Housing Trust to kickstart mothballed schemes.

It also explores new funding models for housing, including the development of a Scottish Housing Bond and accessing pension funds.

The manifesto also promises to make better use of existing housing stock which is currently lying empty by extending support for the Shelter Scotland Empty Homes scheme. It would also introduce a levy on long term empty houses.

In a move away from government plans in England, the SNP will guarantee to retain secured tenancies at affordable rents. It will also toughen up tenancy rules for tenants who commit anti-social behaviour, as we know this is a serious issue for people all over Scotland.

Finally, the party promises to provide enough specialist or adapted housing for older Scots and disabled people. It intends to publish a national strategy on housing for older people if re-elected on 5 May.

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