Affordable Homes

– in the Scottish Parliament on 24th March 2021.

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Photo of Ruth Maguire Ruth Maguire Scottish National Party

6. To ask the Scottish Government what action it will take to increase the number of affordable homes. (S5O-05159)

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

How well do you know Ms Maguire, Mr Stewart? [



Photo of Kevin Stewart Kevin Stewart Scottish National Party

Not that well, Presiding Officer.

As the cabinet secretary has mentioned, having already delivered almost 100,000 affordable homes since 2007, we want to deliver another 100,000 homes by 2032, with 70 per cent of those being for social rent. As our 20-year housing strategy, “Housing to 2040”, sets out, that ambitious target will begin when the current 50,000 affordable homes target has been delivered, and work to continue to do all that safely is on-going. To start on that path, we are investing an initial £3.44 billion. Delivering those homes will be beneficial to Scotland’s communities and will provide a significant economic boost, supporting a total investment package of around £16 billion and up to 14,000 jobs a year.

Photo of Ruth Maguire Ruth Maguire Scottish National Party

Within the strategy, I particularly welcome the fact that the new housing standard applies to all tenures, so that everyone will be living in good-quality accommodation regardless of whether they own it or rent it from a private or social landlord.

I have had a number of constituency cases where the local authority has delayed repairs to damp properties, including to the homes of folk who are vulnerable due to their age or medical conditions, citing the pandemic restrictions as the reason. After representations have been made to the local authority, those cases have been resolved. Can the minister confirm that such repairs are deemed essential, that all landlords have a responsibility to maintain their stock and that nobody should be expected to stay in a damp property?

Photo of Kevin Stewart Kevin Stewart Scottish National Party

I appreciate that dampness in folks’ homes can be distressing. Any house that is let by a social landlord must be substantially free from rising and penetrating damp. If problems come to light, any repairs must be carried out as soon as is reasonably possible. Repairs of that nature can be carried out under the coronavirus restrictions where the work is essential and can be done safely, and where owners’ or tenants’ permission is granted.

The current regulations set out essential work for minimum standards of habitability, safety and maintenance. Work to prevent significant problems developing, for example, should be carried out in people’s homes at this time. Of course, it is up to landlords, in consultation with tenants, to carry out a risk assessment to ensure that such work can be carried out safely.