Funding for Edinburgh homes ‘welcome but not enough’

Housing minister Kevin Stewart with young apprentices employed on the site and councillor Norman Work. Picture: contributed
Housing minister Kevin Stewart with young apprentices employed on the site and councillor Norman Work. Picture: contributed
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EXTRA cash to fund new affordable homes has been announced for the Capital – but council chiefs say they need still more.

The Scottish Government said Edinburgh would get almost £125 million over the next three years as part of a Scotland-wide allocation of £1.75 billion for affordable housing.

It represents an increase of around 30 per cent in the money the council has been getting for affordable homes and is enough to build an estimated 2845 houses over the three years.

But the council has a target of building 16,000 affordable homes over the next decade – or 1600 a year.

And it is understood there is currently a £97.9m funding shortfall for the next five-year period.

The council made it clear it would be seeking further funding in future, including through the City Deal.

Announcing the cash, 
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said the new funding would support the government’s ambitious commitment of delivering 50,000 affordable homes by 2021.

He said: “We are ensuring that Edinburgh has homes that are high-quality, efficient and affordable. Increasing the supply of affordable homes is a key commitment – and vital to our ambition of tackling poverty and inequality in our society.”

He said the announcement was letting authorities know how much money they would have to invest in affordable housing until the end of the current parliament. “It means they can plan these new affordable homes now – with the certainty that the funding will increase year-on-year. This is also an important signal to the house-building sector in Scotland and demonstrates our commitment to the industry and the estimated 14,000 jobs our affordable housing supply programme supports each year.”

Nearly 4000 households become homeless in the Capital every year.

And around 150 people bid for every council or housing 
association home that becomes available in Edinburgh.

News of additional money for affordable housing also came after new figures revealed Scottish properties were growing in value at a faster rate than the UK average.

The latest publication of the monthly UK House Price Index shows the average price of a property in Scotland in April was £145,734 – an increase of 6.8 per cent on the same month last year.

A council spokeswoman said: “While the certainty provided by the three-year planning assumptions is welcome, we look forward to continuing our discussions with the Scottish and UK governments through the City Deal to secure additional resources for badly needed affordable homes.”

Green councillor Susan Rae welcomed the new investment but said it would still leave Edinburgh “short of what is needed”.