Homes for Scotland urges new cabinet to make housing a national priority
Trade body Homes for Scotland has reaffirmed its commitment to working with first minister Nicola Sturgeon to help tackle the country’s chronic undersupply of housing and applauded the appointment of Alex Neil MSP as cabinet secretary with this responsibility.
With his new title of cabinet secretary for social justice, communities and pensioners’ rights, Mr Neil now has responsibility for community planning, local government, planning, building standards, housing, welfare, measures against poverty and homelessness.
Margaret Burgess MSP retained her role as minister for housing and welfare.
Philip Hogg, chief executive of Homes for Scotland, said: “The first minister has made clear that improving opportunity for all will be her personal mission. Ensuring we have enough warm, sustainable homes to properly house our population and provide the safety and security necessary for people to develop their potential is fundamental to achieving this goal.
“We therefore applaud her decision to appoint Alex Neil as cabinet secretary overseeing housing, planning and building standards. As a former housing minister, he will be keenly aware of the challenges which continue to face our sector and trust he will focus on making the fast progress that is required.
“With less than 15,000 new homes built in Scotland last year, some 60 per cent short of the 35,000 the Scottish Government believes is needed each year to meet demand and tackle house price inflation, the scale of the problem is huge but the wide-ranging social, economic and environmental benefits of building the many thousands of homes required are clear.
“Whether providing shelter, creating jobs, maintaining skills or tackling climate change and fuel poverty, no other area impacts so many policy agendas.
“Scotland’s future well-being and success depends on housing being a national priority with bold, brave action required to ensure desperately needed homes are delivered. We look forward to re-engaging with Mr Neil and his Ministers in positive and constructive dialogue.”