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Scotland overwhelmed by demand for social rent homes

Words: Huw Morris
Delivering homes  / Shutterstock_519502300

Scotland urgently needs to build more homes for social rent to meet overwhelming demand, according to research by Scape Procure Scotland.

The public procurement specialist’s study warns that demand for social rented homes in the country dramatically outstrips supply. A total of 137,100 households are currently on council waiting lists but just 3,200 social rented homes are available at any one time.

Only 1,200 homes for social rent were completed in 2017/18 across Scotland and just 7,325 in the previous 10 years.

A Scape poll that forms part of the research finds that 48 per cent of councils are very concerned about the number of social rented homes being built in their area. The study suggests that local authorities would like to see 9,800 social rented homes built every year across the country – or eight times the current rate.

Scape also polled 1,000 Scottish adults and found 87 per cent are “very concerned” about the lack of social rented homes being built.

The procurement specialist suggests that housing associations are not building enough social rented homes, contending that since 2000 they have built an average of 3,461 social rented homes a year. Last year, Scotland’s 160 housing associations each only built 19 homes for social rent.

Scape also shows that the average housing association home costs £130,000 to build, yet private sector homes cost 30 per cent less in England and Wales, where building and land costs are higher.

Scape Group chief executive Mark Robinson said that although housing associations “manage estates effectively and are vital to regeneration, a reliance on the current model is not providing enough homes for social rent”. He called for local authorities to have “sole responsibility" for building new social rent homes. With 137,100 households on the housing waiting list, he added “at the current rate of construction it will be 33 years until everyone has a home”.

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