Letter to FM

Call to rethink ‘hammer blow’ cuts to housing budget

Jane Wood
Jane Wood: the First Minister must think again (pic: Terry Murden / DB Media Services)

Four organisations have together called on the Scottish Government to reverse planned cuts to the housing and planning budgets.

The demand comes ahead of a crucial vote on the SNP-Green government’s December budget and after three local authorities –  Argyll and Bute, Edinburgh and Glasgow – declared a housing emergency.

The budget proposes that the money available to build social homes is cut by more than a quarter. The planning budget, which is crucial to the delivery of more homes, is also to be cut by 43%.

Homes for Scotland (HFS), the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), the Chartered Institute for Housing (CIH) and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have signed a joint letter to First Minister Humza Yousaf demanding a rethink.

“We have a housing emergency with independent research evidencing that 693,000 Scottish households are facing some form of housing need,” says the letter.

“Almost one in 20 people in Scotland are on a waiting list for a social home, 30,000 are homeless and nearly 10,000 children are growing up in temporary accommodation.

“We just aren’t building the homes that Scotland needs, and all the time the situation is getting worse.

“This simply isn’t right.

“Safe, warm, affordable housing is a basic human right. This budget is a hammerblow to your mission for Scotland to be a country of equality, opportunity and community for everyone. This is the worst possible decision at the worst possible time.

“Please take this last opportunity to reverse these devastating decisions and prioritise resources to deliver the homes that Scotland’s people need and deserve.”

HFS chief executive Jane Wood added: “At a time when 693,000 Scottish households are facing some form of housing need, all the data shows that the chronic undersupply of housing in Scotland is intensifying.  This not only threatens the country’s social wellbeing by perpetuating housing inequality but also risks its economic success and the transition to net zero.

“We hope that the First Minister will think again about his government’s proposals and that all MSPs will carefully consider the housing needs of their constituents as they vote tomorrow.”

CIH Scotland national director Callum Chomczuk said: “We all know what the problem is – a failure to build enough affordable homes, and yet the most recent budget exacerbates the crisis by taking almost £200m out of the housing supply budget. But it is not too late to make changes.”

“Even at this late stage, the Scottish Government can restore the budget and work with the sector on developing a response to deal with the housing emergency.  We hope they take the chance to make addressing Scotland’s housing crisis a political priority.”

Chris Birt, associate director for Scotland at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “There is still time for the First Minister to do the right thing and reverse this massive cut to the affordable housing supply budget.”

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