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Scottish Labour make pledge to end housing crisis

Words: Laura Edgar
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale

The Scottish Labour Party has pledged to end the housing crisis and review future transport investments so that the network meets the needs of the public.

Invest In Scotland’s Future also promises to improve the “effectiveness of the plan-led system”.

The election will take place on 5 May, 2016.



The manifesto states that everybody “deserves to have a place they are proud to call home”, with Scottish Labour promising to “end the housing crisis that has developed under the SNP”.

The party undertakes to build 60,000 affordable homes, three-quarters of which would be available for rent by councils, housing associations and co-operatives, and help first-time buyers save for a deposit.

Invest In Scotland’s Future states that the party would “make more land available in the coming years to build homes, especially the consistently large areas of economically inactive land which blight our communities”.



The planning system should, according to the manifesto, “strike the right balance” for communities and developers, while at the same time ensure that the quality of both the environment and buildings inhabited are maintained.

“We believe it now needs reform to make the public interest stronger while providing certainty for developers to attract investment. We will improve the effectiveness of the plan-led system to ensure that it respects local communities and holds the confidence of the public, developers and locally elected members.”

The party also plans to create legal powers to allow councils to compel the sale of derelict and brownfield land for early development.



For the Scottish Labour party, the transition to a sustainable future requires “greater emphasis” on public transport active travel. Public transport works “best when it is publicly owned” and the party plans to make the changes needed to deliver “real reform”.

“When the Scotrail franchise is available for renewal we will seek a publicly owned ‘People’s Scotrail’”, says the report.

A review would be undertaken on future transport investment so that the rail network meets the needs of those who use it as well as helping to take freight off the roads.

Projects to extend the Borders Railway, the Levenmouth line, the Edinburgh South Suburban line and Edinburgh to Berwick via Dunbar would be accelerated. A smartcard ticket would also be introduced across all public transport.



The manifesto sets out plans for a “civic energy” future that includes local schemes to produce green energy and heat for local use. Should the party win the election, it would “pursue new ownership models – community, co-operative and public – to both generate and supply our energy”.

The party wants to be able to generate 50 per cent of the country’s electricity, heat and transport demand from renewables by 2030.

Additionally, Scottish Labour says it can’t meet its climate change targets and “dig yet another fossil fuel from the ground” so the party would ban fracking in Scotland.

Invest in Scotland’s future can be found here (pdf).

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have committed to boosting the number of affordable homes by 50,000 over five years while the Scottish Conservatives say it is “clear” the planning system needs to be “significantly sped up”, pledging to additional resources. 

The Scottish National Party plans to bring forward a Planning Reform Bill and increase low-carbon transport and travel in Scotland.

The Scottish Green Party is promising to campaign for a housing agenda and use empty homes and vacant land.

Image credit | Scottish Labour