The Scottish Government is on course to meet its target of building almost 50,000 affordable homes by the end of this parliament, including thousands of properties for social rent, according to a new report published today.
Research commissioned by Shelter Scotland, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland, says the Scottish Government’s £3 billion affordable housing programme is the largest plan of its type to be undertaken since the 1970s.
An analysis found the plans will deliver 49,773 affordable homes over the course of this parliament, with a lower estimate of 45,387. The majority of these homes will be new builds (96%), the report says.
Scotland’s social housing stock also looks set to benefit immensely from the plans, seeing a boost of around 25,000 homes for social rent after demolitions or other losses are included.
This compares with a predicted net loss of 120,000 council homes in England, partly due to ‘Right to Buy’ which was abolished in Scotland by the SNP Government.
However, today’s report adds that while Scotland may be close to meeting its target for new affordable homes, it is not possible to say whether the right type of homes are being built in the right places.
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said: “This report is good news for the 137,100 households on council waiting lists and many others waiting for homes with housing associations. It shows that with the right political leadership Scotland’s social housing sector is ready to rise to the challenge of delivering the largest increase in social sector homes since the 1970s.
“Within our grasp, for the first time in a generation, is a significant increase in the affordable homes that so many badly need.
“However, whilst the headlines numbers are very encouraging, it is not yet clear if the right sort of homes are being built in the right places where people want to live. We need more detail and clarity on that crucial element of this programme.”
Sally Thomas, Chief Executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, said: “We welcome the report’s findings which show the 50,000 affordable homes target is potentially within reach.
“While contributing towards this target has not been without its challenges for our members – for example, the availability and cost of land – housing associations and co-operatives have proven that when set increased targets and given additional funding, they will deliver. Sixty-six percent of the new homes will be built with an RSL as lead developer.
“However, the report also found that it is difficult to fully assess what type of housing is being built and where. In order to ensure that the correct type of housing is built, for example, for people with additional support needs, and in the areas where it is needed, this must be addressed, and this report is the first step in achieving this.
“While the Scottish Government’s increased target and funding is very welcome, we would like to see the government – and all political parties – commit to long-term funding of affordable housing beyond the lifetime of the current parliament if we are to ensure that we solve the housing crisis and deliver the homes that will be required by future generations. With this in mind, we are already discussing this with the government.”