Majority of Scots 'doubt government will deliver social housing plan'

A survey found three in five adults think it's unlikely that the government's target will be reached.

Shelter Charity says majority of Scots doubt Holyrood Government on social housing plan iStock
Housing: Public sceptical over government plan.

The majority of Scots doubt the Holyrood Government will deliver on its ten-year social housing plan, according to research carried out by Shelter Scotland.

The housing charity say the Scottish Government are expected to fall short on a pledge that 110,000 affordable homes would be available by 2032.

The survey found that three out of five adults asked said they think it’s unlikely.

The survey comes in the same week as house building statistics showing that while the government reached its previous target to build 50,000 new affordable homes since the start of the last Parliament, it did not meet its target of ensuring that 70% of these would be social homes, with a shortfall of around 600.

Shelter Scotland also expressed alarm at the lack of new social houses being started.

The representative survey of people in Scotland also asked how important the development of the delivery of new houses is, with nearly three out of four people (73%) stating it is important for their local community.

If the Scottish Government doesn’t deliver on its target, 63% of people think homelessness across Scotland will increase and 74% also believe rent prices will increase.

The survey coincides with the launch of Shelter Scotland’s 2022-2025 Strategic Plan, which sets out
the charity’s aims to ensure everyone in Scotland has an adequate home.

Shelter Scotland Assistant Director for Communications and Advocacy, Gordon MacRae, said: “This survey shows that people in Scotland recognise the need for more social housing and understand that without it the housing emergency will only get worse. Sadly, after decades of underinvestment and broken promises on social housing from successive governments people have little faith that the current target will be hit.

“The Scottish Government fell short of its previous social housing target. It faces an enormous challenge in getting back on track and then starting work towards its new target but it’s clear there is no margin for error. The 7,510 children in temporary accommodation can’t wait any longer for a place to call home.

“The only way to stop the housing emergency is to build more social homes. The Scottish Government has said it will provide the cash to build them, but we need to keep fighting to make sure those promises are fulfilled, and the homes are actually delivered.

“We want a Scotland where everyone has their right to safe, permanent, home upheld. We can’t allow people to be left homeless any longer.”

Last month it was revealed that over 1,100 vacant homes across Scotland have been brought back into use over the last 12 months.

The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP) said 70% of houses reallocated for a variety of different uses had been unused for more than two years – though admitted the current number of idle properties across Scotland remains above pre-covid levels.

The arrangement – funded by the Scottish Government and hosted by Shelter Scotland – was founded in 2010 in a bid to bring private sector long-term empty homes back into use where possible as social or affordable housing.

Figures published in December showed that the number of homes empty for six months or longer had fallen by 7.5% from 47,333 in 2020 to 43,766.

Housing secretary, Shona Robison, said: “We want everyone to have a warm safe home that meets their needs and we know good housing can support health, wellbeing, life chances and job prospects.

“We’d like all local authorities to use this approach as part of their housing plans, so even more empty properties can be used as cherished homes once more.”