4. To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its housing strategy. (S5O-05157)
On 15 March, we published Scotland’s first long-term housing strategy, “Housing to 2040”, which is a 20-year plan to deliver good-quality, energy-efficient, zero emissions homes with access to good outdoor space, transport links, digital connectivity and community services. It includes new commitments to deliver 100,000 affordable homes by 2032; to set a single set of standards for our homes; to tackle high rents in the private sector; and to decarbonise heating in line with our climate ambitions.
However, as we have said many times before, housing is about so much more than bricks and mortar. The strategy will also contribute to our aims of tackling poverty and inequality and driving inclusive economic growth. Realising the ambition in the strategy will require a lot of hard work, but in the pursuit of a fairer, greener Scotland, that work will be more than worth it.
I very much welcome the Scottish National Party Scottish Government’s ambitious house-building plans for the next decade. Can the cabinet secretary provide any clarity to me, as the MSP for the Cowdenbeath constituency, as to what is planned at this stage for the kingdom of Fife in terms of the number of houses to be built, the jobs to be created and the investment to be made?
Scotland has led the way on the delivery of affordable housing across the United Kingdom, with almost 100,000 affordable homes being delivered since 2007. That has been driven by my colleague Kevin Stewart, who has been a great colleague to work alongside, and I pay tribute to him for his commitment on the issue.
“Housing to 2040” includes an ambition to deliver a further 100,000 affordable homes up to 2032, with at least 70 per cent being for social rent, once the current 50,000 affordable homes target has been delivered. That ambition will play a key role in helping Scotland’s economy to recover from the pandemic, including supporting a total investment package of around £16 billion and 12,000 to 14,000 jobs each year. It is not just about good homes, it is also about creating great places, and I know how committed Annabelle Ewing is to making sure that her constituents and her colleagues in Fife Council are supported. Therefore, we have made more than £150 million available for affordable housing in Fife over the session, which will deliver a range of housing and a mix of affordable tenures but will focus primarily on social rented housing, which is a key Government priority.
I commend Fife Council for its ambitious projects across the kingdom of Fife to ensure that people across Fife get access to good housing, and we will continue to keep Annabelle Ewing updated about what that means for Cowdenbeath.