Scotland at risk of missing affordable homes target as Brexit bites

Scotland at risk of missing affordable homes target as Brexit bites
Scotland at risk of missing affordable homes target as Brexit bites

SCOTLAND is struggling to meet its targets for new affordable homes despite government funding.

A new report by the Chartered Institute of Housing said only half of the overall target of 50,000 homes for cheap rent or purchase had been met by the end of 2018/19.

The Scottish Government plans to deliver the affordable houses over five years to 2021 - with 35,000 of them due for social rent - but the report has also called for a sharp increase in completions to meet that target.

By the end of the last financial year only 50% of those houses had been built and just 61% approved.

READ MORE: Poverty is rising in Scotland and more must be done, report warns

Brexit uncertainty and its potential implications could also affect the situation, it added, with questions over future funding.

Callum Chomczuk, CIH Scotland director, said: "While we are pleased that the Scottish Government's commitment to affordable housing supply is providing good quality homes across the whole of Scotland, we have deep concerns about future funding arrangements.

"The 50,000 homes target represented a significant increase in funding for new homes and as we can see from the figures, it has taken the sector several years to build up the capacity to deliver homes in the volume that we need.

"We have had no indication of what funding levels will be after next year and there's a danger that social landlords will simply have to stop building. Skilled staff will leave the sector and we will end up back where we started.

"The 50,000 homes target is just beginning to make up for loss of affordable homes through right to buy and planned demolitions of old stock that was no longer fit for purpose.

"If we are serious about increasing affordable housing in Scotland, to end homelessness, improve health and wellbeing and reduce poverty and inequality, we need a long-term plan for delivery backed by funding."

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP said: "We want to ensure everyone has a warm, affordable home.

"That's why we're investing a record £3.3 billion to deliver more affordable homes, and I am pleased we are on track to meet our ambitious target of 50,000 affordable homes by 2021.

"This is the sixth consecutive annual increase in the total housing supply, the highest annual figure since 2008-09, and for the first time since 1980, local authority housing stock has also increased.

"This government believes housing is a priority which is why we are proud of our record of delivering over 87,000 affordable homes since 2007."

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