Poverty (Renfrewshire South)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 4th March 2020.

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Photo of Aileen Campbell Aileen Campbell Scottish National Party

We are investing more than £3.5 billion to deliver 50,000 more affordable homes, including 35,000 for social rent, over the current parliamentary term. We have made available £71.438 million to Renfrewshire Council over that period to provide affordable energy-efficient housing. Since 2015, Renfrewshire has received £28 million of attainment challenge funding in order to reduce the poverty-related attainment gap, including almost £13 million to schools through pupil equity funding. Renfrewshire Council was allocated £1.4 million from the £50 million town centre fund, and it is working with partners on a number of projects that will benefit the Renfrewshire South constituency.

Photo of Tom Arthur Tom Arthur Scottish National Party

Given all the additionalities that result from investment in housing and improved mental and physical health, does the cabinet secretary agree that the Government’s commitment to housing demonstrates its commitment to a wellbeing economy?

Photo of Aileen Campbell Aileen Campbell Scottish National Party

Absolutely. The fundamental point about housing is that it is more than just bricks and mortar. It has a reach and an impact that are beneficial not only for me and my colleague Kevin Stewart, who have explicit responsibility for housing; it has an impact on the health portfolio and on attainment. Children who live in safe and warm homes can do their homework far better than those who feel cold and vulnerable.

Housing has an impact across the Government, and that impact will contribute to our wellbeing economy and help us to meet the outcome requirements for our national performance framework.

I will give a figure to illustrate that impact. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has shown that child poverty rates in Scotland differ from those in the rest of the United Kingdom by 6 percentage points. That is because of the investment that we have put into housing to ensure that we reduce people’s household costs. We continue to work hard to deliver equality and fairness for the people of this country, which is why we will continue to support and invest in housing.