New poll reveals 8 out of 10 people think building more affordable homes for rent must be top government priority
15 September 2009
84 per cent of people across Scotland think the Scottish Government must make building more affordable housing to rent a top priority in the upcoming Scottish Budget, according to a new poll revealed today (Tuesday).
The results were released to coincide with the delivery of a 'Declaration for Homes'  to the Finance Secretary John Swinney, as he prepares to publish the Scottish Government’s draft budget for 2010/11.
Representatives from housing and homelessness bodies will take the moral, social and economic case for 10,000 affordable rented homes a year to the Scottish Parliament and call for the next budget to be a 'Budget for Homes'. They are expecting to be joined by a client in housing need.
The strong case for more money for more homes is supported by the survey of 1,018 people across Scotland by TNS-BMRB, which shows 8 out of 10 people think building more affordable homes for rent should be a top priority in the budget. 
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, housing and homelessness charity, said: 'Resources are tight but housing ticks all the right boxes: housing people who desperately need a home, providing a fiscal stimulus, sustaining jobs, and helping to meet the 2012 homelessness commitment. There has never been a more urgent time for a 'Budget for Homes'.'
Craig Stirrat, Chair, CIH Scotland, said: 'Everyone knows we are heading into tight times for public spending meaning there are no easy decisions for the Scottish Government when it come to the Scottish budget for 2010-11. One decision it can make that will meet many people's needs, help tackle climate change and assist economic recovery is to invest in housing. Scotland needs new affordable homes; it also needs action to tackle poor conditions and energy efficiency in existing homes and to work to improve the neighbourhoods in which people live. Action now can provide good homes and neighbourhoods for the future, help people access or sustain employment and give the Scottish economy a boost.'
Jacqui Watt, Chief Executive of Scottish Federation for Housing Associations (SFHA), said: 'The SFHA commends the Scottish Government for reacting to the recession by bringing forward £120million to kick-start affordable house building. But that money can't be spent twice and housing associations are now facing gaps opening up in their budgets for 2010-11 and beyond. There is a danger that affordable house building, which has been bridging some of the gap created by the slump in private developments, will fall significantly – at a time when demand for homes, especially affordable homes, is extremely high. Scottish Ministers need to act now to protect a vital area of public investment, one which supports communities and the economy.'
Robert Aldridge, Chief Executive, Scottish Council for Single Homeless, said: 'Nothing is more fundamental than a decent secure home. Investing in affordable rented homes across Scotland must be a top priority to prevent and tackle homelessness and to create sustainable jobs in a construction industry which has been hammered by the recession.'
Alastair Cameron, Chief Executive, Scottish Churches Housing Action, said: 'We are fully behind the call for more affordable rented homes. We're challenging the churches to make redundant property available for development. But for that to happen the Scottish Government must make funds available to housing associations. Only by everyone pulling together will we achieve the vital objective of more homes.'
Notes to editors
- The Declaration for Homes for a 'Budget for Homes' in full:
We call on Scottish Ministers to make homes the number one priority in the Scottish Budget by funding 10,000 new affordable homes to rent in 2010/2011.
A home for all is a moral, economic and social priority that cannot be ignored. We have a moral obligation to end bad housing and homelessness. 10,000 new affordable homes to rent each year can help meet the needs of the thousands of people homeless or on waiting lists in every community across Scotland.
Investment in housing makes economic sense. £650 million of direct investment could release £331 million in private finance which together would sustain around 16,000 jobs next year directly in the development process or indirectly in the supplier industries.
New homes will lead to better communities and help address the social problems that exist in Scotland. Children living in bad housing are twice as likely to be excluded from school and a BMA study showed that housing deprivation is as bad a risk to health as smoking, and worse than excessive alcohol consumption.
The time is now to make housing Scotland’s top priority and make the 2010/2011 budget a 'Budget for Homes'.
- TNS-BMRB conducted the survey from August 26 to September 2, 2009. A total of 1,018 adults (aged 16 or over) were interviewed face-to-face, in home, in 70 constituencies across Scotland. They were asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed with the following statement 'The building of more affordable housing to rent should be a top priority for the Scottish Government in its budget this Autumn'. The national figures showed: 64 per cent agreed strongly; 20 per cent agreed slightly; 6 per cent neither agreed or disagreed; 5 per cent disagreed slightly; 3 per cent disagreed strongly; and 3 per cent didn’t know.
- Local press releases have been prepared for the parliamentary regions: Highlands and Islands, North East, Mid Scotland and Fife, Lothian, Central Scotland, Glasgow, West of Scotland, and South of Scotland.
- For more information on Shelter Scotland contact Christina Cran or Nicola Baxter on 0844 515 2442, for SFHA contact Clare Holland, 0141 567 6243, for CIH Scotland, Nick Fletcher on 0131 225 4544, for Scottish Council for Single Homeless, Robert Aldridge, 0131 226 4382, for Scottish Churches Housing Action, Alistair Cameron, please phone Christina Cran.