SFHA: Scottish Government must commit to long-term funding beyond 2021
Ahead of today’s Scottish Budget debate, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has called for clarity regarding the scale and funding of the next affordable housing supply programme (AHSP).
Lorna Wilson, interim head of policy, membership and innovation, said: “The Scottish Government’s recent announcement of an additional £300 million for 2021–22 is a start; however, it falls well short of the commitment we know is needed. Funding of £300 million would deliver less than half of the additional 10,000 homes required per year, based on the current programme.
“However, the biggest issue facing our sector is the uncertainty regarding the scale and funding of the next affordable housing supply programme. We urgently need the government to commit to another long-term programme, of no less than the current 50,000 affordable homes target. This is vital if we are to meet existing and future housing need.”
SFHA is also calling for funding for the following areas:
- Adaptations: SFHA has identified an annual shortfall of £7 million for adaptations required in housing association homes to enable people to stay in their homes, return to them after hospitalisation, and to promote physical and mental wellbeing.
Fuel poverty and energy efficiency: The energy efficiency funding that was announced in the Draft Budget is only a fraction of what is required. SFHA is a member of the Existing Homes Alliance Scotland and supports its call for funding to be increased to at least £240 million a year. In addition, SFHA is calling for support for housing associations to help them to meet the cost of the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing Two (EESSH2). Scottish
- Government figures show 91% of the cost of meeting EESSH1 (around £300 million) came from landlords’ own resources, and the costs of EESSH2 are set to exceed this.
- Post-Brexit support: SFHA is asking the government to provide funding for partnerships between housing associations and support organisations to ensure wrap-around advice and support – such as financial inclusion and welfare rights services – for tenants, especially those on the lowest incomes and those with care and support needs who may be most affected by any increase in the cost of living after Brexit.
- Low level housing support for vulnerable tenants: Ring-fencing funding of £500,000 could help social landlords to offer vital housing support beyond basic housing management, helping to prevent homelessness and keep vulnerable people safe and well at home.
Lorna Wilson concluded: “By providing high-quality, warm, energy efficient affordable homes, housing associations and co-operatives are helping the government to meet other priorities on poverty, fuel poverty, health and homelessness. Our sector is leading the way and helping to tackle these issues, but we can – and will – do more with continued government support.”