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Opposition members were keen to comment on the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which pointed out that, under the current system, there is a disincentive for Scottish Governments to invest in keeping social rents affordable, because the benefits of our investment go to the United Kingdom Treasury and we get back lower housing benefit spend. Thankfully, “Scotland’s Future: Your Guide to an Independent Scotland” offers a different way forward. Independence would give us full flexibility over housing budgets, allowing us to design how we use grants, loans, equity stakes or guarantees specifically for Scotland’s needs and circumstances.
I can assure the Parliament that, if we become the Government of an independent Scotland, we will abolish the bedroom tax and integrate welfare and housing investment to support our housing system, our people and our communities.
I move amendment S4M-08470.2, to leave out from “with grave concern” to end and insert:
“that it is the current administration that has provided leadership and incentives to restart council house building in Scotland; welcomes the fact that over 1,000 council houses were completed last year and that this compares with only six council houses built in the four years of the last Labour/Liberal Democrat administration; recognises that, despite cuts in the capital budget proposed by the last UK Labour administration, and imposed by the current UK Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration, more social sector houses per head have been built in Scotland than in any other part of the UK over the past six years; notes the substantial contraction of private house building across the UK that has occurred as a direct result of the financial crisis, for which the last UK Labour administration must accept some responsibility, and recognises that, with independence, Scotland can achieve the level of investment required to meet its housing needs.”