Housing associations play a vital role in their communities, contributing to not only the delivery and management of high-quality homes, but the regeneration of some of the most deprived areas of Scotland. The Scottish Government welcomes the aim of housing associations that wish to extend their housing role to work with other organisations to help to tackle unemployment in their communities. However, that is a decision for each individual organisation to make, taking into account their constitutional requirements and legal responsibilities.
Will the cabinet secretary join me in congratulating local housing associations such as Cassiltoun Housing Association in my constituency, which constantly strives to provide work and apprenticeships for local people in house building and construction? Most recently, it has taken over a local nursery that is based in Castlemilk stables, which will be run for the local community’s benefit by employees who are mainly from the local area.
Does the cabinet secretary agree that that is an excellent example of a housing association acting innovatively and playing its part in building recovery, building communities and increasing employment opportunities?
I agree with Mr Dornan. That is yet another example of how housing organisations can develop their roles, the breadth of their responsibilities and their expertise to make a difference in the community and assist in providing services that enable people to return to employment, as well as carrying out their core function of providing high-quality local accommodation for citizens at an affordable price. I give every encouragement to housing associations to consider such a move but, as I said in my original answer, they have to make such decisions in the context of their responsibilities and their financial sustainability.