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Written by Diane Cooper Thursday, 18 November 2010 08:09
Responding to cut for affordable housing in the Scottish Budget, the SFHA said that while the cut of over 30% .....
was not as bad as that imposed in England (63% over 4 years), housing investment is still taking an undue share of cuts.
According to the published figures in the draft Budget, the Housing and Regeneration Budget will fall from £488m in 2010-11 to £393m in 2011-12, a drop of 19.4%. However, when accelerated investment from last year is taken into account, the fall is over 30%.
SFHA Chief Executive Mary Taylor said:
"This was a difficult budget for the Scottish Government. We are pleased it has not demolished the funds for new housing by 63% as the UK Government has done in England. However the 30%-plus cut in the affordable housing budget means the supply of much-needed new housing in Scotland can only fall.
"We commend the Finance Secretary's difficult decision to transfer money into desperately-needed capital budgets, but housing is still taking more than its fair share of the pain, when you consider the overall cut in capital spending next year is 25%. Quite simply, Scotland needs new affordable homes, the jobs they support, and the vital difference they make to communities the length and breadth of Scotland.
"The number of new affordable homes built in Scotland next year is set to drop from a high of 8,092 in 2009-10, when we need 10,000 a year to meet demand.
What's more, the Scottish Government's own figures estimate that £249m has been paid upfront by housing associations to build new homes, and this money is due be repaid by the Government. As such, we have some doubts that 6,000 new affordable homes can be built, as the Scottish Government states."
Ms Taylor continued:
"We welcome the continuation of the Energy Assistance Package and the Home Insulation package, programmes which are vital in tackling the fuel poverty many tenants are facing.
"We also welcome the continuation of the Wider Role Fund, following campaigning by the SFHA, to support the vital wider role activities which our members perform in their communities. We await detail of how much it will be next year, but at £10m in 2010-11, this relatively small amount of money acts as an important lever for other investment, supporting community regeneration, employment and financial inclusion programmes across Scotland."
"We welcome the funds being given to local authorities for preventative health spending for older people. We highlighted in our budget submission the need for assurance this will be extra money. Money invested in adapting people's homes to suit their needs and on helping them to stay in their homes as long as possible will free up beds and save the NHS money in the long term.
"After a Comprehensive Spending Review, it's usual practice for the affordable housing sector to see spending plans from the Scottish Government for the coming years, to allow associations to plan. We would ask to see these plans in the coming weeks.
"Money invested in building new affordable homes is one of the best ways of sustaining Scotland's economy, jobs and apprentices during tough economic times - as well as providing homes for the some of the 250,000 families on social housing waiting lists in Scotland. This is an argument we will continue to make to all of Scotland's political parties."
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