Health and Wellbeing – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 28th June 2007.
To ask the Scottish Executive what action it intends to take to ensure that there is adequate land available for affordable housing developments. (S3O-390)
As I announced in Parliament last week, we are establishing a housing supply task force with the objective of tackling the obstacles that have been hampering the delivery of more housing. The adequacy of land supply for all forms of housing will be one of the major issues to be examined by the task force.
I welcome the setting up of the task force, which I note will report in the autumn. Can the minister assure me that, prior to the autumn, he will meet the City of Edinburgh Council, which, through planning decisions, has been trying to deliver on the target to set aside 25 per cent of new homes for affordable housing, but which along the way has discovered loopholes? Once the task force has reported, might the Executive introduce plans to tighten planning rules, to ensure that developers have to deliver at least 25 per cent affordable housing in developments in a decent timescale?
Margaret Smith makes some important points about the problem. I hope to meet the City of Edinburgh Council at some point over the recess. I look forward to that meeting, at which I am sure the provision of affordable housing in Edinburgh will be one of the issues that we discuss.
I could not agree more with the member's comments about the 25 per cent target. We want that target to be met, as a minimum, and we want it to be met timeously, so that the building of affordable housing is not left until the very final stage. I confirm that planning will be a central focus of the remit of the housing supply task force. In particular, it will consider how the overall planning situation can be improved in relation to affordable housing.