A letter to the Deputy First has outlined the pressures already on Scotland’s housing system.
A group of leading housing organisations have written to acting Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy John Swinney urging the Scottish Government to prioritise the delivery of social homes in the upcoming budget.
The letter to the Deputy First Minister was signed by Shelter Scotland, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Scotland, and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA).
While recognising that challenges lie ahead and that difficult choices will have to be made in the budget, the organisations stress that failing to deliver 38,500 social homes by the end of the current parliamentary term will mean an inevitable increase in affordable housing need.
Director of Shelter Scotland, Alison Watson, said: “The upcoming budget is an opportunity for the Scottish Government to make social homes the cornerstone of Scotland’s fight for social justice. Scotland is facing a housing emergency and building more social homes is the only viable long-term solution. In the upcoming budget the Deputy First Minister must prioritise delivering of his government’s commitments on social housing, otherwise an already desperate situation for many will only get worse.”
The letter also warns that failure to deliver on the Scottish Government’s social housing commitments will put additional pressure on a homelessness system already on the brink of failure while hindering wider efforts to address economic challenges faced by families.
Aaron Hill, SFHA director of policy and membership, said: “Housing associations are building the social homes that will support people in Scotland now and in the future, tackling poverty through low rents, and creating jobs and economic prosperity. However, our members face soaring construction costs which threaten their ability to build. In its upcoming budget, the Scottish Government must prioritise certainty and investment for social landlords or risk missing its target to build 110,000 affordable homes by 2032.”
Callum Chomczuk, national director of CIH Scotland, added: “Tens of thousands of households across the country are struggling to make ends meet right now due to the cost of living crisis and we know that one of the best ways to support low income households is to provide high quality, affordable homes. In order to deliver these homes, social landlords need financial certainty from the Scottish Government and we need to see this reflected in the budget. Investing in affordable homes reduces poverty, improves wellbeing and contributes to net-zero ambitions.”