Scotland's affordable homes plan is about much more than bricks and mortar – Angus Robertson
Driving around Edinburgh, it is clear that there has been considerable improvement in the housing stock in recent years, especially the affordable sector where really attractive developments have been built.
Since 2007, nearly 100,000 affordable homes have been completed around Scotland which is a real achievement.
Yesterday the Scottish government published a 20-year housing strategy which is exactly the kind of long-term, joined-up thinking we need to make sure that everyone has a safe and affordable home that meets their needs.
What is particularly welcome about the 100,000 target is that 70 per cent of these will be for social rent, a target involving £16 billion in total investment and supporting 14,000 jobs a year.
The strategy is also aimed at ensuring there will be a single set of standards for housing quality and accessibility regardless of whether homes are owned or rented. The strategy also tackles the issue of high rents in the private sector and supports fair, accessible private and social rental sectors.
At the heart of the Scottish government programme is an environmental agenda to decarbonise heating in all homes in line with national climate change targets. New homes provided by registered social landlords and local authorities will have zero emissions by 2026.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell is right when she says “Homes are not simply bricks and mortar. They support people’s health, well-being and life chances, can help to tackle poverty and climate change, and are a major investment in the economy. Housing policy is essential in helping us achieve our ambitions for a fairer, more equal Scotland.”