As regular readers know, I’ve stopped watching TV News and reading newspapers, for health reasons, so I don’t know for certain that they’re not covering all this good news and covering it fairly, I’ve been finding and sharing. If you’re one of those strong enough to keep watching and reading them, you can let me know if they are.
The three reports below are from the Scottish Housing News website which describes itself as : ‘the leading daily newsletter for Scotland’s social and affordable housing sector highlighting issues from homelessness to welfare.’ There’s no sign of Scottish Government control or influence anywhere.
I find all three reports encouraging. I’m sure more is needed but it looks like the Scottish Government’s efforts are evidence of a greater focus on the needs of the wider population rather than on the needs of elites.
‘Scotland is leading the way in the UK in building affordable and social rented housing, the SNP has claimed following the publication of new figures from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe).’
This was posted on 13th February 2017. In a striking contrast, for 2015-16, 41% of new homes built in Scotland were affordable homes. In England for the same year it was only 22%. SNP MSP Ruth Maguire, who sits on Holyrood’s local government and communities committee, said:
‘With the Scottish Government’s budget committing £470 million of direct capital investment this year to begin the delivery of 50,000 affordable homes over the course of this parliament backed by £3 billion of funding, it is clear that the SNP remains steadfast in our efforts to keep growing the housing supply across Scotland.’
At the moment, payments are made monthly leading to problems for individuals and families living very close to the line especially toward the end of the month. This could be helpful for up to 700 000 households. The Scottish Government will introduce the option of fortnightly payments. Further, tenants in the private sector will have the option of payments being made directly to landlords.
In the report published on 30th January 2017, SNP MSP Graeme Dey, goes on to say:
‘These reforms will provide the flexibility that claimants have told us they needed, and in doing so it will help hundreds of thousands of families to manage their household budgets.’
Perhaps worthy of a headline of its own, he concludes with:
‘And with our welfare powers we’ll scrap sanctions from employability programmes – putting dignity, fairness and respect at the heart of our social security system.’
Posted on 14 February 2017, this is, of course, only the first step in a serious attempt to tackle the shame of child poverty.
‘Once housing costs are taken into account, relative poverty ranges from one in five children in Scotland (21 per cent) to nearly twice this (37 per cent) in London’. (‘State of the Nation’: 113)
While the percentage living in child poverty is lower in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK, it remains shameful.
Here’s what the post says:
‘The Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill has been published and will see Scotland become the only part of the UK with statutory targets in a bid to reduce the number of children experiencing the damaging effects of poverty by 2030. The government will publish a three-year child poverty delivery plan by April 2018, which will be updated every five years, and annual reports to measure progress.’
I know this only a plan but at least it is a plan and where else do you start?