Labour has promised to make 60,000 new affordable homes available if it emerges the victor in the Holyrood election next May.
It has also been reported that Labour is considering the notion of establishing a separate goal for social housing. Senior MSPs have expressed concern that this move would throw a spotlight over the failings of the SNP government.
Communities spokesman for Scottish Labour, Ken Macintosh, confirmed the plan. He explained that the party would build 12,000 affordable homes every year. It’s an amount that Shelter Scotland, the Chartered Institute of Housing, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, and related organisations all insist is necessary to deal with Scotland’s housing shortage
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale recently announced a plan to provide first-time homebuyers with up to £3,000 to help them buy a home and step onto the property ladder.
Mr Macintosh wrote to first minister Nicola Sturgeon, stating that if Scottish Labour is elected to government in May, it would deliver on these strategies to answer the ongoing need for affordable housing in the country.
Referring to discussions that took place during First Minister’s Questions, he added that the “SNP mask slipped” when Ms Sturgeon actually admitted that the country is dealing with a housing crisis.
Mr Macintosh held this admission up as proof that the SNP is finally coming to terms with the thought that they have a certain amount of responsibility for the crisis.
He suggested that the party could start by matching Labour’s promise to combat the housing shortage, instead of establishing goals that perpetually fall short.
Out of 30,000 affordable homes that have been built over the last five years, approximately two-thirds, or 20,000 properties, have been reserved for social housing. The SNP has informed housing organisations that it wants to construct 35,000 homes for social rent as part of an earlier commitment to deliver 50,000 homes by 2021.
An estimated 150,000 Scottish households are on council waiting lists.
Mary Taylor, chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, insisted that the greater percentage of affordable homes being build should be set aside for social housing. She said that while a variety of solutions are necessary to handle the housing dilemma, the majority of affordable homes being built need to be for social rent.