We want everyone in Scotland to live in affordable, quality homes that meet their needs. This is key to building and sustaining a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.
Scotland has a strong record in housing delivery. We have invested £1.7 billion in affordable housing over the lifetime of this Parliament and have met and exceeded our target to deliver 30,000 affordable homes. Building on this success, we and our partners want more homes delivered across all tenures. This is reflected in our Joint Housing Delivery Plan for Scotland, launched by the Joint Housing and Planning Delivery Group in June 2015. By harnessing all our skills and capacities, we can continue to build more of the right homes in the right places.
We have listened to our partners and set out below the areas we will be focussing on to deliver More Homes Scotland, an overarching approach to support the increase in the supply of homes across all tenures.
More investment for more housing
More affordable homes: A commitment of over £3 billion over the next five financial years to fund the delivery of 50,000 affordable homes. This is accompanied by increased subsidy levels, a new Rural Housing Fund to increase the supply of affordable rural housing, and support for City Deals.
Delivering more mid-market rent homes, building on successful innovative initiatives which use guarantees and loans. We have invited prospective mid-market rent providers to submit proposals for expanding mid-market rent provision.
Delivery of 50,000 affordable homes will support approximately 14,000 full-time equivalent jobs a year in the construction and related industries in Scotland, generating around £1.8 billion of economic activity a year on average over the life of the five-year programme.
- More private rented sector (PRS) homes: We have successfully used innovative guarantees to achieve the building of over 2,000 new affordable rented homes since 2011. We are now extending this approach to kick-start delivery of new-build PRS homes at scale. A PRS Rental Income Guarantee Scheme, developed with Homes for Scotland and industry specialists through the PRS working party, is currently being market-tested. This is designed to stimulate a thriving, high quality purpose-built private rented sector. Innovations like this will make it easier to invest at scale in Scotland.
Supporting home ownership: We are supporting affordable home ownership with more than £160 million of new funding, targeted in 2016-17 on schemes to support up to 5,000 households to buy their own home through the Open Market Shared Equity Scheme and the new Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme. Between April 2016 and March 2019 our Help to Buy schemes will help up to 7,500 households to buy a home and will support around 2,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the construction and related industries in Scotland a year.
Supporting infrastructure, land and housing delivery
Recognising the centrality of housing in our overall ambitions for Scotland, we have made supplying more homes a national strategic “social infrastructure” priority in the 2015 Infrastructure Investment Plan.
There have been challenges to the development of some key housing sites including the provision of the right infrastructure and land assembly. Working with local authorities, we will provide targeted assistance to help unlock strategically important housing sites and increase the scale of housing delivery.
To help tackle infrastructure blockages we have also announced the Housing Infrastructure Fund, a flexible five-year grant and loan fund, initiated with up to £50 million available in 2016-17. This will provide more certainty to help our partners with longer-term planning.
A more effective planning system
Planning should deliver high-quality places for people, meeting the needs of communities and supporting sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
The draft Planning Delivery Advice on Housing and Infrastructure was published on 17 February and we are seeking comments until 31 March. The advice clarifies housing and infrastructure requirements in development plans and action programmes.
We are committed to a wide-ranging review of the planning system, with a focus on improving the effectiveness of planning processes that support the delivery of good quality housing developments. The panel will make recommendations to Scottish Ministers in May and we will respond later this year.
Providing expert advice
We recognise the need to build delivery capacity and to identify where the critical gaps are and how best to fill them. We will consult local authorities, RSLs and others in the spring on the resources, skills and expertise they need to help deliver the ambitions and facilitate the private sector to play its part too.
The above four areas are the start of More Homes Scotland. The approach is underpinned by the Joint Housing Policy Delivery Group and we’ll continue to work with the group to evolve the approach. We will continue to listen to new ideas about where the constraints are in the system so that we collectively focus our energy on implementing solutions.