Scotland is on course for the biggest growth in social housing in 50 years - but it is unclear whether the right type are being built in the right areas.
An independent report into the progress being made by the Scottish government in delivering affordable housing has found it is on track to reach its target of 50,000 over the period of this parliament.
Commissioned by Shelter Scotland, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland, the report examined the information in councils' ‘Strategic Housing Investment Plans’.
It found at the top end of the predicted numbers of new affordable homes, 49,773 will be delivered, with a lower estimate of 45,387. New-build homes will make up 96% of the total programme.
The £3bn affordable housing programme is the biggest undertaken since the 1970s and is set to deliver a net increase of 25,000 new homes to Scotland’s social housing stock.
The report, entitled Review of Strategic Investment Plans for Affordable Housing, contrasts this with a predicted net loss of 120,000 council homes in England.
‘This report is good news for the 137,100 households on council waiting lists and many others waiting for homes with housing associations,’ said Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland.
‘It shows that with the right political leadership Scotland’s social housing sector is ready to rise to the challenge of delivering the largest increase in social sector homes since the 1970s.
‘Within our grasp, for the first time in a generation, is a significant increase in the affordable homes that so many badly need.’
However, Mr Brown warned, it was unclear whether the homes were of the right type or were in the right location.
‘Whilst the headline numbers are very encouraging, it is not yet clear if the right sort of homes are being built in the right places where people want to live,’ he said.
‘We need more detail and clarity on that crucial element of this programme.’
Welcoming the report, Sally Thomas, chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, also called on Holyrood to commit to funding affordable housing beyond this parliament.
‘While the Scottish Government’s increased target and funding is very welcome, we would like to see the government – and all political parties – commit to long-term funding of affordable housing beyond the lifetime of the current parliament if we are to ensure that we solve the housing crisis and deliver the homes that will be required by future generations,’ she said.