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Housing

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 4th December 2013.

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Photo of Maureen Watt Maureen Watt Scottish National Party

It is funny that we are still managing to build more houses—we know how to use the money better.

The motion mentions that house builders are concerned about separation. I am not aware of that, but I am aware of a Homes for Scotland press release from 27 September, which said:

“Home builders herald launch of ‘game changing’ Help to Buy scheme in Scotland.”

We know that house builders would not have adequate house-building standards if those were left to the industry itself—the industry admits that—but how many fewer houses in both the public and private sectors would be falling below tolerable standard, especially with regard to insulation, if housing standards since the war had been set to cope with Scottish weather conditions, rather than those several degrees warmer in the south-east of England? It is because housing standards have been set in the south-east of England that this Government is having to spend so much on insulation schemes in Scotland.

I thought that we could agree that the homelessness legislation had cross-party support and was being well implemented across local authorities, notwithstanding some local difficulty in East Lothian. However, at the weekend we found out that Glasgow City Council is neglecting and ignoring its duty on homelessness. Organisations such as Turning Point Scotland and Glasgow Housing Association itself will be horrified, as both those bodies were proud of the legislation and their work on meeting their obligations. Indeed, Turning Point has said that international bodies that it met were envious of the legislation.

I said at the outset that this debate was predictable. James Kelly, like so many of his better together colleagues, opened his mouth last week before his eyes were opened to the white paper. The white paper has more paragraphs than there were council houses built when Labour was in office.

Finally, Presiding Officer—