Investment in New Affordable Homes in Scotland 2011/2012

By: Shelter Scotland
Published: June 2011

Investment in New Affordable Homes in Scotland 2011/2012

The Budget for Scottish housing and regeneration has been reduced by 31% in 2011-12.
In the Budget, the Scottish Government pledged to deliver 6,000 new affordable homes in 2011-12. “Affordable”, by the Scottish Government’s definition, includes homes for low cost home-ownership and a new form of “intermediate” rented housing as well as socially rented homes.*

Our estimates suggest that, of those 6,000 affordable homes, just over 1,500 will be socially rented homes from councils and housing associations; around 1,000 will be for subsidised home-ownership and the remainder (around 3,500) will have to be intermediate rented homes through a new initiative called the National Housing Trust.

In recent years the bulk (around 80%) of the public housing investment programme has been directed towards socially rented housing. In 2011/12, however, only 25% of new approvals will be socially rented housing, marking a dramatic shift in housing policy.

There is likely to be demand for subsidised owner occupation and intermediate rented housing but both benefit households on higher incomes than those who access socially rented housing.

In particular, a lot of emphasis is being placed on the new National Housing Trust to deliver more than half of the programme. It will produce homes let on short term tenancies and at rents at only a little below market levels. Rents can be 60-90% higher than those for socially-rented homes.

Shelter Scotland does not believe that this dramatic shift in priorities can be justified while over 10,000 homeless households remain in temporary accommodation. The National Housing Trust is an innovative and welcome development but it is, in effect, providing a new form of private renting and should be in addition to, not instead of new socially rented homes.

*This estimate contrasts starkly with the commitment in the SNP Manifesto published for the 2011 election which states that: “Overall, our aim is to build over 6,000 new socially rented houses each year”. “Socially rented homes refers only to those homes rented out by councils and housing associations on Scottish Secure Tenancies at rents well below market level and this is a much more specific (and ambitious) commitment than that to produce 6,000 affordable homes a year.