Accessible Housing Targets

– in the Scottish Parliament on 30th October 2019.

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Photo of Murdo Fraser Murdo Fraser Conservative

4. To ask the Scottish Government what targets it has set local authorities to deliver accessible housing. (S5O-03680)

Photo of Kevin Stewart Kevin Stewart Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government does not set local targets for accessible housing. Specific requirements are best identified locally, informed by the needs of communities. However, our fairer Scotland for disabled people delivery plan includes a commitment to ensure that each local authority sets a realistic target in its local housing strategy for the delivery of wheelchair-accessible housing across all tenures and that each local authority reports annually on progress. Additionally, guidance that was published in March requires local authorities to have wheelchair-accessible housing targets in place for all tenures by the end of this year. Increasing the supply of wheelchair-accessible housing will provide more choice and flexibility for disabled people.

Photo of Murdo Fraser Murdo Fraser Conservative

The minister will be aware that there is a desperate need for more accessible housing right around the country. Will he give members an update on how many councils have provided new strategic housing investment plans? Is he satisfied that the plans adequately address the demand for accessible housing?

Photo of Kevin Stewart Kevin Stewart Scottish National Party

As far as I am aware, all 32 local authorities submitted their strategic housing investment plans last December or January. I will confirm that in writing to Mr Fraser, because I do not have the details in front of me now.

As I have previously related in the chamber, I expect local authorities not only to look at the issue in terms of their local housing strategies but to take cognisance of housing lists in their areas.

We are investing heavily in housing in Scotland at the moment. Although I have said that we are unwilling to look at the amount of subsidy that we give as a whole, I have made it clear that we are extremely flexible about subsidies for the local authorities and housing associations that want to deliver wheelchair-accessible housing.

Can I say to members—

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

Just very briefly, minister. I am trying to get other members in.

Photo of Kevin Stewart Kevin Stewart Scottish National Party

In 2018-19, 96 per cent of our new-build homes were of the housing for varying needs standard, which is extremely important.

Photo of Kenneth Gibson Kenneth Gibson Scottish National Party

Will the minister advise members how many accessible and affordable homes are currently being built in Scotland per 100,000 people compared with the number that are being built in England, where Mr Fraser’s party is in government?

Photo of Kevin Stewart Kevin Stewart Scottish National Party

Between 2007 and 2018, the supply of affordable homes per head of population has been a third higher in Scotland than in England. That is 131 homes per 100,000 people in Scotland compared with 96 homes per 100,000 people in England. In the four years to 2018, we delivered 50 per cent more affordable homes per head of population in Scotland than were delivered in England.

In the social rented housing sector, in particular, in the four years to 2018, we delivered five times more homes per head of population in Scotland than in England, delivering 84 social homes per 100,000 people in Scotland compared with just 13 social homes per 100,000 in England.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

I was a wee bit tolerant there. The question was about accessible housing, not affordable homes. Be warned.