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Affordable Homes (Budget)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 4th March 2020.

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Photo of Annabelle Ewing Annabelle Ewing Scottish National Party

2. To ask the Scottish Government what provision it has made for building affordable homes in the next financial year. (S5O-04197)

Photo of Kevin Stewart Kevin Stewart Scottish National Party

We are committed to ensuring that everyone has access to a safe, warm and affordable home that meets their needs. That is why we have increased the affordable housing supply budget by £17 million to £843 million in 2020-21 and committed to £300 million interim funding certainty for 2021-22.

We have transformed access to affordable housing with a record investment of more than £3.5 billion to deliver our 50,000 affordable homes target, which includes 35,000 homes for social rent, over the course of this parliamentary session. This Government can be very proud of its record on affordable housing, having delivered more than 89,000 affordable homes since 2007.

Photo of Annabelle Ewing Annabelle Ewing Scottish National Party

I welcome the extra £17 million for this financial year and note the considerable progress that has been made in this area, including on affordable housing. What wider progress is being made by the Scottish Government on the housing to 2040 vision, so that we will have a housing sector that meets the needs of Scotland’s changing population?

Photo of Kevin Stewart Kevin Stewart Scottish National Party

It is clear that Scotland’s housing system must help to address many of the challenges that we face, such as our ageing population, which means that business as usual is not an option. We also need to think carefully about how we support the distinct needs of rural communities and ensure that we have a housing system that works for all.

In the programme for government 2018-19, we committed to working with the whole of Scotland on a shared vision for how our homes and communities should look and feel by 2040.

Since then, wisdom and expertise have been put into our consultation. Between 2 December and 28 February, we consulted extensively on our draft vision and principles and the options and choices to get there. We have received a wealth of feedback and ideas, which we will carefully assess as we develop the housing to 2040 vision and route map.

Photo of Graham Simpson Graham Simpson Conservative

The announcement in the draft budget of an extra £300 million for 2021-22 is welcome, but that is enough to deliver only less than half of the extra 10,000 houses a year that are needed. Does the minister not agree that the figure should be increased?

Photo of Kevin Stewart Kevin Stewart Scottish National Party

I am grateful to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Kate Forbes, for providing that £300 million to give comfort and certainty beyond the current parliamentary session. I am sure that Ms Forbes will look carefully at what is required for the future. It would be helpful if we actually had a United Kingdom budget that gave us the certainty that we need to carry out a full and comprehensive spending review so that we can deal with Scotland’s finances, including moneys for housing, in an appropriate manner.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

Let us try to speed things up a bit.