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SNP makes rural housing commitment

Words: Laura Edgar
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has pledged to create a Rural Housing Fund and to bring forward a Planning Reform Bill if it is re-elected into the Scottish Parliament.

Moving Scotland forward also pledges to increase low-carbon transport.

The election will take place on 5 May.



The manifesto promises to create a Rural Housing Fund with investment of £25 million over the next three years to build new, affordable homes, to enable the needs of older people to met more easily as well as helping families to stay or make their lives in rural communities.

Should the party be re-elected, the SNP says it would invest £3 billion to build at least 50,000 affordable homes – 35,000 of these in the social rented sector. Help to Buy and Shared Equity schemes would be continued.

Additionally, the party would ask councils to ensure that their local development plans take into account the increasing housing need for older people and disabled people.

The manifesto says the party would “look at extending the Housing Association Grant available to council and housing associations for this purpose”.

The SNP says the “best use” should be made of the existing housing stock. The party plans, through flexible grants, loans and guarantees, to help bring empty or derelict properties back into use.



The party says that should it remain in power after the election, it would bring forward a Planning Reform Bill based on the recommendations made as a result of the current planning review.

According to the manifesto, this would aim to “streamline procedures and practices to remove unnecessary blockages and delays”.

Planning obligations would also be amended so that they “work for the benefit of all and do not cause delays to the completion of projects”. Compulsory purchase orders would be modernised to ensure that vacant and derelict land could be brought into use for communities.

Moving Scotland Forward states that the ongoing planning review “will ensure that planning enables and facilitates sustainable and appropriate growth and development”.

The party wants to develop planning guidance to support an increased number of huts in Scotland and review and reform Community Planning Partnerships.



The manifesto outlines the SNP’s commitment to increasing low-carbon transport and travel in Scotland, planning to deliver a Low Carbon Travel and Transport programme with a £62.5 million investment to create-low carbon infrastructure by 2020.

The National Transport Strategy would be refreshed under the SNP, and national and local guidance would be reviewed to ensure that communities have a say on influencing their transport needs.

A Transport Bill would be brought forward to improve bus services, enhance and improve the role of the Scottish Road Works Commissioner and wider road networks regulation.



Following the agreement signed at the UN Climate talks last year, the SNP wants to bring forward a new Climate Change Bill to “strengthen our ambition further and set a new target to reduce emissions by more than 50 per cent by 2020”.

The party would “carefully consider” a proposal put forward by industry body Scottish Renewables to set a target of 50 per cent of all energy to come from renewables by 2030.

The SNP wants to ensure that by 2020 at least half of new consented renewable energy projects have elements of shared ownership and it would continue to support new wave energy technology. The party says it would work “closely” with the Solar Trade Association to expand solar energy in Scotland.

Moving Scotland Forward can be found here.

A round-up of the Scottish Green Party manifesto can be found here, while coverage of Scottish Liberal Democrats and Scottish Conservatives can also be found on The Planner website.

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