Housing to 2040

Housing to 2040 sets out a vision for housing in Scotland to 2040 and a route map to get there. It aims to deliver our ambition for everyone to have a safe, good quality and affordable home that meets their needs in the place they want to be.

This document is part of a collection

Annex A: Summary of Stakeholder Feedback and Suggestions for the Route Map


Area for action

Challenges to address

Proposals for improvement

Housing supply and affordability

Current measures of affordability do not always reflect the real cost of living, relative to people's income and other outgoings.

There is not enough social housing in some areas to meet demand and social landlords are facing financial pressures to deliver new homes and keep rents affordable.

Rents in the private rented sector can be too high for people to afford and standards in these homes can be poor.

Second homes and short-term lets can impact negatively on local housing markets, crowding out local people.

Empty homes are a blight on communities and are a wasted resource which should be put to better use.

Housing can be seen as being primarily for investment purposes and the tax system encourages some behaviours which prevent the housing market working well for everyone.

There can be a lack of housing diversity and options in some areas, meaning some people can't find a home that meets their needs.

Housing delivery could be made more efficient, reducing waste and improving predictability of delivery, which can translate into savings for residents and developers.

A right to an adequate home should be at the heart of Housing to 2040.

Affordability should be more clearly defined in relation to housing and there should be a common definition to which everyone can work. This should take account of running costs, as well as rent or mortgage payments.

Increasing housing supply is essential, as is maintaining rent affordability. An Affordable Housing Supply Programme should continue to provide genuinely affordable, high-quality homes and an adequate supply of social housing should be maintained.

Action should be taken to tackle unreasonably high rents in the private rented sector and there should be a growing supply of high-standard, professionally managed accommodation in the sector, along with security of tenure.

More should be done to tackle empty and derelict homes, including looking at what additional incentives would bring more empty homes back into use, and what changes could be made to the housing land market and taxation system.

The benefit of public sites should be maximised and a range of more innovative construction methods (such as offsite construction) should be implemented. There should be increased support for homebuyers and home ownership and changes made to taxation.

The spaces around our homes and housing's place in connected places and vibrant communities

Communities often aren't empowered and supported to shape their places.

Housing availability is often driven by where developers want to build, not where homes are needed or where they can be connected to communities, transport links and services. This can be a particular issue for rural areas, contributing to rural depopulation.

There is sometimes not enough easy access to outdoor or green space around homes.

The regeneration of existing homes isn't given enough focus, meaning too strong a focus is on new build.

Housing to 2040 should take a place-based approach so our places are well designed, resilient and connected. Communities should be at the heart of this.

More should be done to create shared green space and open spaces around homes as these help to improve areas and promote connected places. Green space can also contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as promote physical and mental health and wellbeing.

People must be able to access active travel and public transport safely and easily and have easy access to services and amenities such as shops, exercise and leisure facilities, education and healthcare.

More focus should be given to providing homes in communities, such as in town centres, and consideration should be given to repurposing unused properties in town centres for housing.

Housing should make a contribution to stemming depopulation and work should be done to tackle the challenges faced by those communities facing depopulation, particularly our rural and island communities, in securing affordable housing.

Responding to the global climate emergency

Given the huge proportion of existing homes that will still be in use in 2040, focus must be given to improving the energy efficiency of those homes, particularly those in private ownership.

Skills shortages for energy efficiency work will impact on our ability to retrofit existing homes.

The levels of investment needed in energy efficiency and retrofit must not drive up rents or fuel costs.

Greater regulation and higher standards should be applied to new build housing and changes made to existing homes to enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

There should be a mix of regulation and monitoring alongside education, advice and support across all tenures and care must be taken to ensure we can marry climate ambitions with heritage and maintaining the aesthetics of older buildings.

Work should be done to make sure Scotland has the skills to retrofit homes at scale and materials used for our homes should be sustainable and, where possible, locally sourced.

Innovative methods of construction should be used to help tackle the carbon cost of new homes.

This work must be undertaken alongside work to reduce fuel poverty.

Accessible housing

There is often not enough accessible housing to meet people's needs (both in terms of new homes and existing homes) and this challenge will only increase in scale as our population ages.

Making adaptations to homes can be difficult due to costs and planning constraints.

There is not enough diversity in the housing market in some areas to offer homes that meet people's needs.

The spaces around homes are sometimes not accessible enough.

Shortages in accessible housing must be addressed, both in relation to new homes and existing ones. Adaptations, such as widening doorways, installing accessible showers as standard and installing charging points for electric wheelchairs, can make big improvements to people's quality of life and should be supported.

There should be a sufficient amount of future housing that is fully accessible, where flexibility is built in at the outset for homes so they can be changed to meet people's needs. Independent living should be a priority. Places should also be designed with independent living in mind.

Alternative models, such as co-housing, communal spaces in new developments, more opportunities for self-provided housing and a tenure-neutral approach to adaptations would be beneficial. Help for people to downsize and more use of technology is also important.

Different parts of Government and the public sector should work better together to prepare for an ageing population, particularly in the areas of health and social care and housing.

Housing quality

The current system of housing standards across different tenures is patchy, particularly in the private sector.

Housing improvements are necessary but should not drive up rents.

Practical constraints, such as mixed-tenure buildings, can prevent some improvements from taking place.

The quality of existing housing should be given greater focus and a single set of standards should apply to quality across all tenures. Regulation will be important, as will support for people to maintain their properties, and barriers to improvements should be removed.

Housing quality should be seen as including energy efficiency and accessibility and should be balanced with the need to keep rents affordable.


Email: Housing2040@gov.scot

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