Alex has welcomed the publication of the Government’s proposals to end the affordable housing crisis in Scotland. At the heart of this is the decision to end the right to buy for new properties, and a commitment to build 35,000 new homes a year. With figures showing that thousands of people remain on housing waiting lists, combined with a steady decrease in the number of council and housing association homes, swift action is needed to reverse this trend. Commenting, Mr Neil said:
“Housing is consistently one of the issues that constituents come to me about most. If we are serious about achieving sustainable growth, labour mobility and improved living standards, people must have an affordable place to live. It must also be tackled now – house prices are soaring."
“Ending Right to Buy is a crucial step. Local authorities have a vital role to meeting demand for social housing, but there is little incentive for them to build new houses at the moment. Allowing them to keep hold of all of their future housing stock will help ensure that they contribute to our aim of 35,000 new homes in Scotland a year – a target that is both achievable and necessary.”
“There are other obstacles that need to be addressed. For instance, an investigation by the Competition Commission condemned supermarkets for buying up local land simply to stop other supermarkets from moving into the area. This is land which could easily be used for building affordable homes. These supermarkets talk about their ‘corporate social responsibility’ – if they want to live up to that name, they should make their surplus land available for affordable housing, instead of blocking land purely for commercial gain.”