Shelter Scotland launches housing manifesto
Shelter Scotland has launched its housing manifesto ahead of the Holyrood elections in May.
The charity is warning that Scotland risks creating a “generational gulf” between the housing haves and have-nots unless there is a change in the supply of affordable housing, following an Ipsos MORI poll for the charity that found 90 per cent of respondents think it will be harder for the children of today to buy or rent a home in the future than it is now.
Shelter’s four-point Manifesto for Homes 2016 calls for all political parties to take action to improve the housing situation in Scotland.
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The organisation is calling on any future Scottish government to deliver a home for everyone in Scotland by building 12,000 new affordable rented homes a year, raising the quality of all homes with a new common quality standard for housing and bringing more empty homes back into use through financial incentives and compulsory sale orders.
The second commitment point is to tackle homelessness through a national homelessness strategy, protection of funding for homelessness services and improve access to good quality temporary accommodation.
There are over 150,000 households on councils housing waiting lists in Scotland and 27,000 houses are long-term empty.
In 2014/15 there were 35,764 homelessness applications. There are 10,567 households, including 4,896 children, are living in temporary accommodation and 74,000 households are living in overcrowded conditions.
The Shelter manifesto also calls for improvements to the private rental market – which has more than doubled over the last 10 years, with 330,000 households now living in privately rented homes – including new Scottish private tenancies and registration of private landlords.
The fourth commitment area is to put housing at the heart of social justice and tackling child poverty, including abolishing the bedroom tax, mitigating the effect of cuts to the housing safety net and providing support to those affected by welfare reforms and Universal Credit.
In an article for Holyrood, Shelter Scotland director Graeme Brown writes: “A good home is central to our wellbeing both as individuals and collectively as a nation.
“From improving our health outcomes to raising educational attainment, reducing reoffending and tackling inequality – all of these depend on whether or not people in Scotland have a decent home.”
The Scottish Greens have welcomed the proposals.
Maggie Chapman, Scottish Greens housing spokesperson and MSP candidate for the North East, said: "Warm, affordable homes for all has been a consistent priority from the Scottish Greens and the manifesto launched by Shelter is a welcome contribution to the debate.
“Successive Scottish governments have not been bold enough on the need for new housing, and on the need to make existing housing stock affordable and easy to heat.
“By taxing derelict and vacant land we can raise hundreds of millions for house building and by bringing in rent controls and tackling bad landlords we can improve the lives of many."
The SNP has promised to build 50,000 affordable homes over the course of the next parliament if re-elected.
Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has called for 100,000 new homes of all types to be built during the next parliament.
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