Headlined in the Scotsman yesterday:
Scotland ‘building more affordable homes than England’
‘In answer to a parliamentary question from Edinburgh North and Leith MSP Ben Macpherson, housing minister Kevin Stewart revealed that 70,861 affordable homes had been built from April 2007 to September 2017.’
So, a good headline ‘despite’ the unnecessary ‘quotation marks’. They’re there, of course, because, that’s what the SNP say and we here at the Scotsman don’t know if it’s absolutely true. I know they’re getting short of staff, but a wee bit of research might have enabled them to be dropped.
7 231 new affordable homes were built in Scotland in 2016/2017, 3% up on 2015/2016. As always, statistics for England are not yet out. However, we can still compare the 2015/2016 figures.
In 2015/2016, the Scottish Government built 7 021 new affordable homes. That’s 1 for every 755 people.
In the same year, in England, 32 110 new affordable homes were built in England. That’s one for every 1 650 people.
Comparing the Scots and English figures give a ratio of 2.18 so the Scottish Government was building at more than twice the rate in 2015/2016 and has increased building by 3% for this last year. No need for the quotation marks then?
And, the situation in England, especially in the South-East may be even worse than the above figures suggest. The UK Government definition of affordable is that affordable homes should cost no more than 80% of the average local market rent. The average rent in South-East England is currently £2344 per month. The average rent in Glasgow is £696 per month.
I’ll spare you the ‘despite’ and the ‘but’ as the Scotsman reminds us that completions were below the target set. They concluded this bit of the report with a source and data-free:
‘The gap in completions for social rent is even wider, with an increase in the completion rate of 159 per cent needed to meet the target.’
I know, it’s ‘balance’.
With a wee bit of research, the headline could have been the same as mine in September 2017: