Debate in parliament
Holyrood urged to create cheaper Co-op homes
Nathan Bower-Bir of Edinburgh Student Housing Co-Op
The Scottish Parliament is being urged to consider creating more more housing co-ops to deliver cheaper rents, safer communities and more power to tenants.
Labour MSP Johann Lamont secured a debate following the publication of the report – Shared Space: How Scottish Housing Co-ops build communities – by Co-Operatives UK in February.
“There are some brilliant examples – Edinburgh Student Housing Co-Op charges £322 per month against average student rents of £550-plus,” she said.
“People living in West Whitlawburn in Cambuslang faced real challenges with drugs and crime in their community before the co-op was established and turned things around – 30 years on, it is a thriving community. We need to shout more about co-ops and help communities to enjoy cheaper, better, safer and fairer housing.”
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-Operatives UK, said: “More people in Scotland deserve the choice to live in successful, affordable housing communities. I’m delighted that the Holyrood debate shows this important report is being taken seriously.”
Co-ops Fortnight [24 June to 7 July] will raise the issue further and Mr Mayo added: “We encourage people to come together in two weeks of mass cooperation. It’s a chance to shine a spotlight on what can be achieved when we co-operate.
“The co-operative economy should start in the home – and that means getting housing co-ops and the benefits they bring to communities on to the policy agenda in Scotland.”
The decline of social housing stock in Scotland and parallel rise of the private rented sector has created a squeeze on those looking for affordable homes in the social rented sector.
Scotland has just 11 registered housing co-ops, compared to 685 across the UK – although 150,000 people in Scotland are on council house waiting lists.”
The Cross Party Group on Co-ops will be meeting on 26 June to hold further discussions about taking forward housing co-ops in Scotland.
Nathan Bower-Bir, member of Edinburgh Student Housing Co-op said: “Most student housing is either run down or outrageously expensive – or both. Student housing is now a lucrative ‘investment opportunity’ – but students deserve homes over which they have control and that are integrated into wider society.”