Social housing cash boost

Posted on 09/07/2013 by


Local authorities and registered social landlords (RSLs) are to benefit from a £44 million increase in housing subsidies, allowing them to create more social housing.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the increase, which will give councils and housing associations an extra £16,000 per home, on the same day as the publication of a report on Affordability, Financial Capacity and Subsidy Rates, which recommended introducing higher subsidy levels.

The report was put together by a short life working group, with representatives from the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum (GWSF), the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO) and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

Councils currently receive up to £30,000, towards the cost of building a new home, while RSLs get around £42,000.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I would like to extend my thanks to the working group for their hard work and commitment on this report. We are aware of the pressures being faced by councils and housing associations, and support the recommendations of the working group in full, including increasing subsidies by £16,000. Housing is and will remain a priority for this Government and today’s announcement of £44 million in funding brings our total budget for affordable housing to nearly £900 million over three years. Increasing the supply of affordable housing is a vital part of our efforts to build a better and fairer Scotland.

“We are now two years into our five year target of delivering at least 30,000 additional affordable homes and we are collectively making good progress towards making this target, with last month’s housing statistics showing that we have already completed almost 12,900 additional affordable homes. In announcing the end of Right to Buy last week I also signalled our commitment to ensuring that we keep and make the best use of our existing housing stock.

“Housing is central to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities and I am confident that the additional resources announced today will strengthen our commitment to provide the people of Scotland with high quality, sustainable homes that they can afford and which meets their needs.”

COSLA President Cllr David O’Neil said: “COSLA is pleased that councils and housing association will receive an increase in the development subsidy for social housing. This increase will assist councils in responding to local housing need. It will create greater confidence amongst councils to plan for a sustainable new build social housing programme. This in turn will provide a boost to local economies and employment opportunities.”

Susan Torrance, Policy Manager for Investment, Asset Management and Development, who represented SFHA on the Working Party said: “I am delighted that the recommendations of the Working Party have been approved by the Scottish Government, representing as it did, the unanimous views of all of us who are working to build social rented and affordable housing for those in need in Scotland. New homes are needed urgently and these measures will enable us to build with the right level of subsidy to ensure rents remain affordable to those working in low paid jobs and on low incomes.”

Jim Hayton, Policy Manager for the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO ) added: “ALACHO very much welcomes the announcement that subsidies for new social housing construction are to be increased by an additional £16,000 per home for councils and RSLs alike.

“There is a pressing need for social housing throughout  Scotland, and this increase will give councils and their partners much needed scope to plan and deliver sustainable social housing development programmes for their communities. We also commend Scottish Government for the inclusive manner in which the working group has been encouraged to develop its report and recommendations on this important issue.”