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Affordable Homes

– in the Scottish Parliament on 14th January 2016.

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Photo of Kenneth Macintosh Kenneth Macintosh Labour

5. To ask the First Minister whether the Scottish Government’s target for building affordable homes will resolve the “housing crisis” that she referred to during First Minister’s questions on 7 January 2016. (S4F-03168)

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government is clear in our commitment to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes over the next five years. That commitment, which has been warmly welcomed by the housing sector, will support around 20,000 jobs a year and generate in excess of £10 billion of economic activity. That will build on our achievements in this session of Parliament in delivering more than 30,000 affordable homes, including 20,000 for social rent.

I thank Ken Macintosh for his recent letter to me in which he announced for the first time—albeit that it looked as if it was done on the back of a fag packet—Labour’s policy on housing supply. I look forward to hearing now how that will be paid for and what commitment Labour might have on social housing. Ken Macintosh’s leader has said that it is still thinking about that.

Photo of Kenneth Macintosh Kenneth Macintosh Labour

The First Minister’s boasts about meeting affordable homes targets do not square with her confession last week that she has presided over a “housing crisis”. She has turned a housing shortage into a housing crisis. Just one aspect of that crisis is the fact that more than 1 million Scots are living in fuel poverty. They are struggling to afford to heat their homes this winter. Given those circumstances, can the First Minister explain why her Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy, who is whispering in her ear right now, cut the fuel poverty budget in the budget? Will she pledge to take real action and join Labour in pledging to introduce a warm homes act for Scotland?

The First Minister:

We have maintained the fuel poverty budget at £104 million and lost £15 million from United Kingdom Government funding, because it has ended a project. That is the reality.

Let me remind members across the chamber that that contribution on housing came from a member of a party that built the grand total of six council houses the last time that it was in government. That was the shining record of the previous Labour Administration. [Interruption.]

The First Minister:

By contrast, the Government has met our target of 30,000 affordable homes, including 20,000 for social rent. In the next session, if we are re-elected, we will build 50,000 affordable homes, which will be a substantial increase. Seventy per cent of those will be for social rent. That will be a 75 per cent increase in the number of social rented houses that we have built in this session.

We are the party with not just the record, but the ambition for the future on housing. Labour is still squirming in embarrassment. As Iain Gray said, it passed great housing legislation, but forgot to build the houses to implement it.