Highlighting Housing Need

I recently got the opportunity to raise the issue of affordable housing shortages across Edinburgh.

There are almost 26,000 people on waiting lists for social housing in the city and research indicates that the city needs 1,600 new affordable homes every year over the next decade.

The Council has indicated that it will come close to this target this year but housing associations have indicated that they can only deliver around 3,000 of the 8,000 affordable homes needed over the next five years.

My colleague Malcolm Chisholm also raised a point highlighted to him by housing associations that future developments may have to be split 30% social housing and 70% on mid-market rent schemes in order to make up the funding shortfall they are facing.

Real terms cuts to the housing budget announced by the Scottish Government as part of their Spending Review will make it even harder to meet social housing targets and the Council has acknowledged that it will need to explore alternative funding models.

Investment in affordable housing is not only important in terms of meeting housing needs but also in supporting jobs in the construction industry. The Council has stated that new house approvals this year will support 2,180 jobs in construction and related industries.

I asked the Scottish Government for assurances that it would provide the City of Edinburgh Council with resources to ensure that housing needs can be met.

Against this backdrop, I am keeping pressure on the Scottish Government to meet their pledge to deliver 6,000 socially rented homes across Scotland in each year of this Parliament.

During a debate in the Parliament at the start of the month, the Minister for Housing stated that the Government would deliver 20,000 homes for social rent over the next five years.

While this is a step forward it is still 10,000 short of what the Scottish Government promised and I will continue to urge them to meet their commitment.