Edinburgh 'shortchanged' over funding for affordable homes, claims Tory MSP
Edinburgh is being short-changed by the Scottish Government over funding for affordable homes, Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs has claimed.
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The Capital is due to receive £233.8 million in funding over the next five years to boost the number of homes in the city.
But Mr Briggs said the cash represents 7.3 per cent of the total £3.2 billion affordable housing budget for Scottish councils announced last week, while Edinburgh has 8.8 per cent of Scotland’s population.
He said: “It is extremely concerning that Edinburgh is yet again being short-changed by SNP ministers, which appears to be a trend of their governance, with the underfunding of NHS Lothian as well as Edinburgh council.”
And he said the Capital was where Scotland’s housing crisis was at its most acute.
"This is where most of the problems are. We have some of the worst shortages of affordable housing compared to any other part of Scotland; we have the second highest number of children living in temporary accommodation – 1,750 children, second to only Glasgow; and most organisations working in the field say this is very much an Edinburgh problem in terms of land, councils being able to develop housing and what has been built up with the overheating of the Edinburgh economy.“There are serious questions about why a local authority with the biggest challenges to tackling homelessness and the biggest need for affordable housing, is being given lower funding.
"I would like to see more acknowledgement from ministers that the housing crisis is very much weighted in the Capital. It makes no sense for Edinburgh to be given a lower share of funding than the population size and challenges in the city require.”
When the funding was announced, city housing convener Kate Campbell described it as “hugely welcome” and said it was an increase of almost £44m from Edinburgh’s baseline allocation over the last five years. She said she had recently met Housing Secretary Shona Robison to set out the challenges in Edinburgh and the further investment required and hailed the allocation as “a positive response”.
Cllr Campbell continued: “We’ve also consistently received in-year allocations of extra funding when other local authorities have had underspends in their grant. Over the last five years this has amounted to about £40m. Our aim is to continue making the case for any future underspends to come to Edinburgh by making sure that we continue our strong track record on delivery of homes.
“And, because the need for permanent, secure and affordable housing in our city is so great, we’ll also continue to make the case for additional funding for Edinburgh from the national housing budget. But having certainty for the next five years, and an increase in funding, puts us in a fantastic position just now, and gives us a really strong platform to build from.”A Scottish Government spokesperson said Edinburgh’s funding for the next five years was an increase of £32.4 million or 16 per cent on the previous five years.
“Ending homelessness is a priority and Scotland has delivered more than 102,000 affordable homes since 2007 which will help us achieve this.
“We are committed to delivering a further 100,000 by 2032, once the previous 50,000 homes target has been delivered. At least 70,000 will be for social rent.”