New campaign highlights impact of shortage of affordable rural homes

A new campaign by Scottish Rural Action (SRA) is aiming to highlight the shortage of affordable homes in rural Scotland and its impact on rural communities.

The “Rural Homes, Rural Lives” campaign calls on the Scottish Government, local authorities, community organisations, housing associations, landowners and employers to work together to ensure rural equity in housing provision in order to unlock rural economic potential.

In particular, the campaign highlights the negative impact that lack of rural housing has on businesses trying to invest, grow and recruit staff.

The campaign, which is being launched with a series of four short films, is based on the findings of a survey carried out last month by SRA in conjunction with Rural Housing Scotland.

Fiona Thompson of Scottish Rural Action said: “Data already tells us that there is a shortage of affordable, accessible and appropriate housing in rural Scotland, but our survey set out to gather first hand experiences from the people who are affected; the personal stories of the individuals behind that data. We had almost 200 people respond and their testimony gives a powerful insight into the urgent need for housing in rural Scotland, particularly in small communities.

“We have summarised key findings from our research in the Rural Homes Rural Lives campaign into ten ‘asks’ of the Scottish Government, and we will be publishing a more detailed analysis of our findings in late March. The more we can understand the challenges facing rural economies and rural communities, the better placed we are to address those challenges and unlock rural potential. We look forward to sharing our findings and our suggested solutions with those involved in rural housing provision.”

Derek Logie of Rural Housing Scotland added: “Our research has brought home the extent of the housing crisis facing rural Scotland. Young people across the countryside are unable to find somewhere affordable to live. There is much less council and social housing in rural Scotland, and demand for second homes and holiday lets is reducing the number of private lets and increasing house prices.

“Rural Scotland needs a fair share of Scottish Government investment in affordable housing to ensure that young people are able to make their homes in rural areas. This will enable businesses to grow, to sustain rural communities and help to secure local services such as schools.”

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