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CONCERN OVER SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE'S HOUSE BUILDING COMMITMENT

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The Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland (CIH) reacted with concern at the publication of Communities Scotlan...
The Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland (CIH) reacted with concern at the publication of Communities Scotland's Corporate Plan*.

In launching the plan communities minister Margaret Curran highlighted the Scottish Executive's commitment to fund 18,000 new and improved homes for social rent and low cost home-ownership by 2006. Out of this the total planned provision is 6,000 for 2003-04.

But an assessment by the CIH of other available information it is known that from this 6,000 only just over 3,000 new housing association homes for general rent will be built. This is likely to rise to just under 3,500 in 2004-05. However, in 2002 more than 17,000 local authority and housing association homes were sold.

Alan Ferguson, director of the CIH said:

'We are concerned that the Scottish Executive is presiding over a decline in number of houses to rent in Scotland. Their commitment on building new homes to rent will amount to only 3,000 - 3,500 per year. This is nowhere near to keeping pace with the number of houses that are being sold through the right to buy and other initiatives.

'The Scottish Executive obviously believes that this is okay. We, however, are worried that people who either need or want to rent from their local authority or housing association will increasingly find it difficult to do so. I am therefore calling on the Scottish Executive to tell us why they think the provision of just over 3,000 homes to rent per year is adequate to meet Scotland's needs. We know that in 2002 there were more than 200,000 people on waiting lists for housing and that over 45,000 households become homeless per year. While we recognise that these cannot be seen as exact figure figures for housing need they are nevertheless a fair indication of the level of need and demand for social housing in Scotland.'

* Full details of the plan here.

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