I congratulate Iain Smith on securing the debate this evening. Housing is an issue that is discussed constantly in the Parliament; indeed, it is a subject each and every member discusses on a daily basis. All of us feel that it is an important issue as far as providing for our communities is concerned. The debate is a worthwhile one, albeit that it is not the best-attended debate that I have attended.
The Executive appreciates the housing pressures that exist in north-east Fife. It is clear that north-east Fife is recognised as a high-demand area. We can see the priority that it is being given in both Communities Scotland's "Lothian, Borders and Fife Housing Market Context Statement" and Fife Council's recently completed local housing strategy.
The purpose of Fife Council's local housing strategy is to achieve for Fife and its local housing markets exactly what Iain Smith called for, which is to have in place a comprehensive housing strategy that responds to all the concerns that he raised this evening. That is why the Executive introduced that requirement on local authorities in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001.
Communities Scotland and Fife Council have agreed that north-east Fife is a priority area for investment in new-build affordable housing. That means that the area will be a priority area for the £8.5 million a year development funding that is available to Fife Council through the Communities Scotland programme.
I was pleased to learn that Communities Scotland's investment in east Fife is projected to increase by as much as 80 per cent. That increase is a recognition of the difficulties that members have highlighted this evening.