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Housing associations ‘working hard’ to deliver affordable housing in Scotland

Words: Laura Edgar
Housebuilding / iStock

An SFHA event has heard that Scottish Government targets, including one for the delivery of 35,000 social houses in the lifetime of the current Parliament, will demand 'innovative' approaches.

Speaking at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations’ (SFHA) member event at its Annual General Meeting, Mary Taylor, chief executive of the SFHA, spoke about key issues that could stand in the way of delivering 50,000 affordable homes, which is the Scottish Government’s target for this Parliament.

Issues, said Taylor, include the availability and the price of land, infrastructure, access to funding, the planning system and a skilled workforce.

She said the SFHA would be working constructively with the Scottish Government, MSPs, housing associations, local authorities and other partners to find answers to these challenges.

The Scottish Government minister for local government and housing Kevin Stewart attended the event to discuss these matters with SFHA members.

Taylor said: “Housing targets represent more than just an amount of new-build – people’s life chances, health and well-being 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.”

Stewart said the government has a target of making 35,000 of the 50,000 affordable homes available for social rent. The 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, Stewart continued, economic benefits, supporting on average, 14,000 full-time equivalent jobs a year and generating £1.8 billion in economic activity.

“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 member event also saw a panel of speakers discuss the post-Brexit landscape and a question-and-answer session with SFHA members.

Image credit | iStock