SNP Government is leading the way in the UK, in building affordable and social rented housing, in welfare reform and in serious plans to tackle child poverty

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.

Higher proportion of new builds are affordable housing in Scotland

‘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.’

http://www.scottishhousingnews.com/13891/higher-proportion-of-new-builds-are-affordable-housing-in-scotland/

Up to 700,000 households to benefit from flexible Universal Credit payments

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.’

http://www.scottishhousingnews.com/13661/up-to-700000-households-to-benefit-from-flexible-universal-credit-payments/

Scottish Child Poverty Bill published

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?

http://www.scottishhousingnews.com/13907/scottish-child-poverty-bill-published/

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/485926/State_of_the_nation_2015__social_mobility_and_child_poverty_in_Great_Britain.pdf

 

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9 thoughts on “SNP Government is leading the way in the UK, in building affordable and social rented housing, in welfare reform and in serious plans to tackle child poverty

  1. James McHale February 15, 2017 / 3:24 pm

    Well said Prof! The non-reporting of the Scottish Government’s commitment to affordable housing reflects the inability of our political journalists to highlight any good news coming out of Holyrood.

    I am a Board member of a national Registered Social Landlord (RSL) and experience firsthand the difference in funding north and south of the border. The average Scottish Government grant for new house builds in our sector is c.£60,000 per unit (£70-£72k social rent; £44-£46k mid-market rent) compared to c.£20,000 in England. This is a solid grant regime recognising strategic and differing regeneration objectives across the Scottish affordable housing sector. This is really good news!

    Over the next five years, our Group has planned to build around 1,200 mixed tenure homes in Scotland with an investment of over £1b therefore to build 50,000 new affordable homes over the next five years is a massive undertaking and financial commitment by the First Minister and her government. Yet we rarely, if ever, hear of the positive differences in the affordable housing policy trajectory between Westminster and Holyrood. Instead we get headlines such as “SNP under fire for failing to tackle housing crisis in Scotland” .

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/snp-under-fire-failing-tackle-6415283

    Another major policy difference between the Scottish and UK Governments is their emphasis on solving the housing shortage. In an age when many of those who are on housing waiting lists would be unable to secure a mortgage let alone save for a deposit, The Conservative’s emphasis is on home ownership. However, the SNP recognises the real nature of the crisis and wants to build more social housing through engagement and joint ventures with Local Authorities and well established housing developers to provide quality homes where people want to live. This is really good news!

    The Tories hate social housing and RSLs (David Cameron allegedly said “Why don’t you **** off and die.”)and are in the process of undermining Housing Associations in England with Right to Buy and forcing RSLs to cut social rent by 1% per annum thereby reducing the income stream to provide a surplus that would be used to build new homes. There are other mitigating risks entirely due to the austerity regime with welfare reform that will have an impact on our cash-flow and especially on our social rented customer base e.g. the Benefit Cap, the Shared Accommodation Rate (due to arrive April 2019). This is bad news!

    Instead of spending £Billions on the private rented sector invest the money in more affordable housing therefore slashing huge amounts of the rent. (Average 2 bdrm social rent in Edinburgh = £80.87/week ; Average 2 bdrm flat private rent in Edinburgh = £192.69/week). That’s how you slash housing benefit while providing quality homes and a solution to the housing shortage. This would be really good news!

    http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Housing-Regeneration/HSfS/HRA2008-09
    https://www.djalexander.co.uk/news/349/1000plus-a-month-the-new-average-cost-of-renting-in-edinburgh

    In closing, thank you Prof for highlighting the upbeat news that the Scottish Government is leading the way in providing social and affordable homes in the UK.

    N.B. The political views expressed are entirely personal and under no circumstance do I speak for any of my colleagues.

    Like

    • johnrobertson834 February 15, 2017 / 7:11 pm

      Thanks for this very informative piece. Can I post it separately to get more attention?

      Like

      • James McHale February 15, 2017 / 7:26 pm

        Certainly

        Like

      • johnrobertson834 February 17, 2017 / 11:16 am

        Will you reply to the two comments on the separate posting?

        Like

  2. johnrobertson834 February 15, 2017 / 7:13 pm

    I’ll just re-post the original and mention there’s been a useful addition.

    Like

  3. broadbield February 16, 2017 / 6:40 am

    James Meek in “Private Island: why Britain now belongs to someone else” explains in all the sordid detail how Thatcher and her heirs bribed the voters by handing over social housing (our, i.e. the State’s assets) at a giveaway price to private interests which then found their way into the hands of private landlords who then rented them back to the state at vastly greater cost. And Councils couldn’t spend the money on new housing.

    Like

  4. Col February 16, 2017 / 7:33 pm

    I’m glad you are dropping the Thought Control name (almost) because it sounds too conspiracy theory-ish and I want to share as many of your articles without scaring away those who easily dismiss alternative information. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

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