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TENANTS MUST HAVE 'REALISTIC' OPTIONS FOR IMPROVING HOUSING

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In its response to the Scottish Executive's consultation 'Modernising Scotland's Social Housing' the Chartered Inst...
In its response to the Scottish Executive's consultation 'Modernising Scotland's Social Housing' the Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland (CIH) has urged the Scottish Executive to ensure tenants are given realistic choices in how their houses are managed and improved.

The Scottish Executive's proposals to introduce prudential borrowing, alter the capital receipts rules and consider debt write off for partial stock transfer have been welcomed. These will help in ensuring all Scotland's social housing is able to meet the new Scottish Social Housing Standard. However, to ensure tenants are not unduly penalised by local authorities not transferring their housing stock the CIH has called for help with setting up Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) and the removal of proposals to link a new regeneration fund to stock transfer.

Nick Fletcher, policy and public affairs officer, CIH in Scotland said:

'We welcome the Scottish Executive's proposals that will allow greater freedom in the management and improvement of Scotland's social housing. The proposals recognise that stock transfer may not always be the best way forward.

'However, we are keen to ensure that tenants who either vote against transfer or whose local authority chooses not to pursue transfer are not disadvantaged in getting access to financial assistance. This is why we hope the Scottish Executive will consider our proposals for assistance in setting up ALMOs and allowing housing debt write off for them, in a similar way to debt write off for stock transfer. We also want to ensure tenants do not miss out on wider regeneration opportunities. We have therefore proposed different tests for accessing the new £175m fund that are not based solely on a willingness to transfer housing stock, as currently proposed by the Scottish Executive. Instead it would look at local community and environmental issues, local authority business plans and how tenants are to be engaged in the regeneration process.'

Notes

1. The CIH response to the Scottish Executive's consultation is available on our website

2. The Scottish Executive consultation proposes a new Scottish Social Housing Standard to improve house conditions. It also looks a ways of making finance available to achieve this along with increasing the role for tenants. The Scottish Executive consultation paper is available here.

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