Scottish housing charity calls for efforts to end the country’s housing crisis

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A LEADING housing and homelessness  charity has reacted to the 2021 Scottish Election results by urging the incoming Scottish Government to end the country’s housing crisis.

Shelter Scotland has claimed it has been campaigning for the Scottish Government to commit to building enough homes over the course of the next five years.

The charity’s director, Alison Watson, said: “We congratulate First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her party on last week’s election results.

Allison Watson - Property News Scotland
Allison Watson is the director of Shelter Scotland.

“Now, however, the Scottish government must turn its attention to the many housing issues that still exist in Scotland.

“In their election manifesto, the SNP pledged to build 100,000 affordable new homes over the course of the next ten years, with 35,000 of those being social homes to be built over the course of the next parliament.

“While this plan will go some way to tackling housing inequality, it does not go far enough.

“Our campaign, which received the backing of the other political parties along with tens of thousands of members of the public, called for the building of 37,100 new social homes over the course of the next parliament.

“Our figure of 37,100 was reached by independent academic research.

“So, there is a shortfall of more than 2,000 social homes in the SNPs commitment.

“To some, this might not seem significant, but it will mean 2,100 households will not have a safe, affordable and secure home, and we know the impact of not having a home that meets your needs is significant and can be long lasting.

“We can only end reduce housing need if the 37,100 number is reached, and we are urging the new Scottish Government to match that call and up its target over the next five years.

“It is also imperative that these new social homes are built in the right places and are accessible to those in greatest need.”

She added: “Naturally, building homes is not the only piece in the puzzle – initiatives such as tackling the number of empty homes, limiting and regulating short-term lets, and making the private rented sector more affordable in the areas where rents are running away, are absolutely vital.

“Shelter Scotland hosted a very successful hustings event last month, in which all of the major parties were represented.

“The Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart, intimated that he was ‘absolutely confident’ that his government’s proposals would reduce housing need.

“We will ensure that the SNP’s promises are met because, as things stand, building more social homes is now the consensus in Scottish politics.”

A Scottish government spokesperson has said: “Since 2007, the Scottish Government has delivered almost 97,000 affordable homes with nearly 67,000 of these being for social rent.

“This would have been an increased number if Covid hadn’t impacted on construction and we remain committed to completing our current 50,000 affordable homes target.

“We have committed more than £3.4 billion planned investment for affordable housing over the next five years.”