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SFHA launches Scottish election manifesto

Words: Laura Edgar

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has called on political parties to acknowledge housing’s “vital” contribution to Scotland’s health and wellbeing in the run-up to May’s election.

The organisation representing Scotland’s housing associations wants political parties to sign up to its "five key asks," which it said it would help the next Scottish Government to deliver.

The five asks are:

  1. An affordable housing target of 12,000 homes a year – the amount SFHA says are required to solve the housing crisis.

  2. Maintaining the recently increased grant that is available to housing associations to build new homes. A grant of at least £70,000 of public investment for a “typical family home” would allow social landlords to borrow more privately at no further cost to the public purse.

  3. Increasing energy efficiency and fighting fuel poverty by ensuring that all housing reaches Energy Performance Certificate band C or above by 2025.

  4. The powers in the Scotland Bill have the potential to bring about positive change, such as mitigating against the bedroom tax. The SFHA is also asking that the next government to use the welfare powers it will gain to protect tenants and ensure rental income stability for social landlords.

  5. Housing must be “universally” recognised as being central to the health and social integration agenda and enable people to live at home independently. The next government “must” act to ensure it is allowed to make a “positive” contribution in all local partnerships.

The SFHA has said that, alongside the government, it would: help the Scottish Government build 12,000 affordable homes; bring in more private sector money if the government maintains the investment rate; make social housing warm, dry and cheap to heat; support tenants to maintain their tenancies and keep people safe and healthy, living independently with adaptations and services in their own homes.

SFHA chief executive Mary Taylor said: “We are calling on all political parties to sign up to our five key asks and to acknowledge the crucial role that housing has to play in the lives of Scotland’s people.

“Good quality, affordable, warm, energy-efficient housing is vital for a person’s mental and physical health and wellbeing.

“By delivering our key asks, the next Scottish Government will protect some of Scotland’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and the SFHA and its members are ready to assist it.”