Capital investment in housing is essential to the social and economic well being of the country in challenging economic times, Housing Minister Keith Brown said yesterday (Tuesday).
The Minister visited three developments, backed by £34 million from the Scottish Government that are delivering hundreds of new affordable homes and helping support jobs in the construction industry and wider economy.
The developments are:
• River Clyde Homes, Greenock - Over £11 million to build 141 new affordable homes in Greenock.
• Cordale Housing Association, Renton, - Almost £15 million to build 129 new affordable homes on the former industrial site at Dalquhurn Estate, West Dunbartonshire.
• Almond Housing Association, Livingston - £8 million to build 109 new affordable homes over three separate sites.
Keith Brown said:
"Today, I have seen compelling evidence of how investing in our infrastructure can make a real and vital contribution to economic growth.
"In Greenock, Renton and Livingston Scottish Government investment is creating hundreds of new affordable homes for families and bringing significant economic benefits to those areas.
"Across Scotland, we have made a commitment to deliver 6,000 new affordable homes each year. This will be done through a range of measures including the Innovation and Investment Fund, backed by a total funding package of £460 million.
"In the face of Westminster cuts we will also boost housing supply by using innovative financing methods, driving maximum value for every single pound of taxpayers' money."
Commenting on the statement from Housing Minister Keith Brown Dr Mary Taylor, CEO of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) said:
"I welcome the Minister's recognition of the economic and social importance of affordable housing to Scotland after a visit to three housing association developments today.
"The SFHA has been making these arguments consistently. Not only will building new affordable housing meet the need of the 335,000 households on waiting lists, it is also one of the best ways of stimulating the economy. We should also remember that housing associations and co-operatives have outstanding development capacity and also have the ability to enhance government investment with private finance."
Dr Taylor added:
"I would ask the Minister to reconsider the 30% cut that is planned to the 2012-13 affordable housing budget and to look again at the long-term viability of future grant levels."
Meanwhile, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, who was visiting Bield Housing Association's Abercrombie Court in St. Monans, Fife, said:
"The opportunity to meet residents at Abercrombie Court reinforced my belief that the Government must change course on its cuts to the housing budget.
"Care and support for the elderly is one of the biggest challenges facing us, with number of elderly people expected to rise exponentially.
"We need to protect and support the elderly in our communities with support for social housing. But we are seeing little evidence of that from the Scottish Government.
"I cannot understand why the Scottish Government are choosing to slash the Housing budget by 50% over the next two years when they know the pressures coming round the corner.
"The Scottish Government have got a lot to prove to show us that when it comes to the big decisions, they can make the right choices."