The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has welcomed the Scottish Government’s “ambitious” 20-year housing strategy, released on Monday. SFHA said, if it is delivered, the long-term vision could help to ensure that everyone in Scotland has a safe, warm, energy-efficient, affordable home in the future.
Housing to 2040 is Scotland’s first long-term housing strategy, and it outlines the Scottish Government’s vision for housing and communities. (1)
Key priorities in the strategy, which will be taken forward subject to the outcome of the election, include:
- Delivering 100,000 more affordable homes by 2032, with at least 70% of these being for social rent.
- Setting a single set of standards for housing quality and accessibility, no matter whether a home is owned or rented.
- Decarbonising heating in all homes in line with Scotland’s climate ambitions, ensuring this is done in a fair and just way, including by adapting and retrofitting existing homes.
- Aiming for all new homes delivered by registered social landlords and local authorities to be zero emissions by 2026.
- Supporting housing development in rural and island areas, helping to prevent depopulation and enabling communities to thrive.
Sally Thomas, Chief Executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), said: “This is an ambitious 20-year housing strategy, and there is much to commend. It is SFHA’s ambition that everyone in Scotland has a safe, warm, energy-efficient, affordable home, now and in the future, and, if delivered, the Government’s strategy could help to realise this.
“SFHA has long campaigned for an Affordable Housing Supply Programme commitment beyond one parliamentary term in order to tackle housing need and to maintain progress, so we really welcome the priority to deliver 100,000 more affordable homes by 2032 as well as the commitment to review this at the half-way point.
“It is vital that our members can also invest in their existing stock, and we are pleased to see the commitment to supporting social landlords to do so — this is particularly important if all homes are to meet the same quality standards in the future.
“Our members are already leading on delivering Scotland’s most energy-efficient homes, and it is our sector that others will learn from in order to reach the same quality standards.
“We will work with the Government to ensure housing associations can meet the climate change ambitions set out in Housing to 2040 and in other strategies.
“We welcome the proposal to mainstream standards of accessibility in order to deliver homes that adapt to people’s changing needs and are suitable throughout their whole lives.
“It’s great to see a commitment to the right to an adequate home and that equality considerations have informed and influenced the whole strategy. These were major recommendations of the Social Renewal Advisory Board and the Housing System Policy Circle.” (2)
Sally added: “The strategy also includes a priority to support a ‘fair, accessible social rental sector through a Housing Bill’. While we will need to see more detail regarding this, SFHA is already liaising with the government and is working on a paper which highlights the long-established key role of affordability in housing associations’ rent setting process.”
Sally concluded: “There is much to welcome in this strategy — and many of its proposals are ones we have long called for. However, ensuring social landlords have adequate financial support from government in order to realise it will be critical.
“We will work with the next government and our members to ensure this 20-year vision for housing becomes a reality for Scotland and its people.”
- Housing to 2040 strategy document and vison and principles.