Affordable Housing Manifesto Pledge is First Big Test for Majority SNP Government
2 September 2011
The SNP Government’s flagship manifesto commitment on affordable housing is set to be its first big failure unless there is a radical rethink of spending priorities, say two of Scotland’s leading housing organisations.
Shelter Scotland and the Chartered Institute of Housing [CIH] Scotland made the claim in a joint submission to the Scottish Government’s spending review today, which called for a radical rethink of spending priorities and laid out detailed plans for getting affordable housing back on target.
The submission points out that the Scottish Government has promised to deliver 6,000 affordable homes a year - a pledge which, this year, it will fail to meet by some distance. The housing organisations have blamed a 30% cut in this year’s housing budget and calculated that around £610 million is needed over the next three years for the government to meets its annual affordable homes pledge.
The joint submission also argues that the main priority for new investment should be a bare minimum of 4,000 new socially-rented homes each year along with 1,000 homes for subsidised home-ownership and 1,000 intermediate rented homes through the National Housing Trust.
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said:
“This is the first big test for a majority Scottish Government determined to deliver its manifesto. It is the first big spending review to take place since the housing market went into reverse. Our submission today is cut back to the absolute minimum needed to deliver a credible housing programme. Anything less would be a betrayal of the thousands of people stuck on housing waiting lists and undermine our nation’s commitments to badly housed and homeless people.
“If the Finance Secretary gets this decision wrong, there is no way the SNP Government will be able to meet one of its flagship manifesto commitments.”
Alan Ferguson, Director of CIH Scotland, said:
"Our joint submission is grounded in the realities of the current financial climate. It makes an entirely reasonable case for the absolute minimum expenditure needed for the Scottish Government to achieve its own targets for affordable homes.
"The Government has much catching up to do. Having slashed new approvals this year to an unprecedented low level, and with the welcome National Housing Trust initiative clearly not producing the volume of homes originally predicted, the first thing Ministers can do is give the go ahead for far more than £50m worth of bids to the massively oversubscribed Innovation and Investment Fund.
"Even then, compared with this year's £366m housing supply budget, the lack of approvals this year means that next year's budget looks like being less than half that. We cannot see how this level of investment can get the Scottish Government anywhere near its own targets, so this must be addressed in the forthcoming spending review."