The SNP is committed to ensuring that everyone in Scotland can afford a quality home – we recognise that this is essential to achieving social justice and to supporting our economy. New figures published this week have shown that when it comes to social housing in particular the Scottish and UK governments are streets apart.
Over the last five years 20,400 new housing association or council homes have been built in Scotland – that’s 400 more than the SNP target for the social rented sector. In turn this has contributed to the Scottish Government not only meeting its target of 30,000 new affordable homes but doing so ahead of schedule. Compare that record of delivery with what is happening in England where latest figures show that the number of new social sector homes has slumped to a record low.
But we know that there is much more still to do. That’s why if re-elected, the SNP will build on this success and invest at least £3 billion to deliver a further 50,000 affordable homes over the next five years.
The Scottish Government is not just investing in new social housing but is also protecting existing stock by abolishing Thatcher’s right to buy policy. Meanwhile in England, the Tory government has accelerated the sale of council homes and is extending the scheme to housing association homes. The UK Government has also committed to building proportionately fewer new affordable homes than pledged by the SNP and has made no commitment to social housing.
We recognise that public investment in quality homes isn’t just good for the wellbeing of the people who live in them but is also good for the health of our economy. Research suggests that up to half of the economic growth seen in Scotland in the last year can be attributed to public investment in housing and infrastructure – creating jobs and sustaining local economies.
On housing, as on many other issues, the SNP is delivering progressive policies that will build a fairer Scotland – this stands in stark contrast to what is happening south of the Border.