Housing to 2040: consultation analysis

Report summarising and describing the responses to the public consultation on Housing to 2040.

This document is part of a collection


Overview of the context for the research

This report presents an analysis of responses to the public consultation on Housing to 2040. The consultation exercise ran from 2 December 2019 until 28 February 2020. The consultation involved an online questionnaire with eight open ended questions and 15 stakeholder consultation events facilitated by the Scottish Government.

Housing policy has a vital role to play in achieving many of Scotland’s aspirations, including eradicating child poverty and homelessness, ending fuel poverty, tackling climate change and promoting inclusive growth. The Scottish Government’s ambition is that everyone in Scotland should live in high quality, energy efficient homes that are affordable and that meet their needs. 

The Scottish Government has already taken steps to improve Scotland’s housing system and people’s experience of it. This has included:

  • renewing their commitment to social housing through record investment;
  • ending ‘Right to Buy’; 
  • improving protections and standards for tenants in the Private Rented Sector; 
  • alleviating poverty through full mitigation of the bedroom tax via Discretionary Housing Payments; 
  • as well as the introduction of the Universal Credit Scottish choices. 

Furthermore, over 145,000 homes have been refitted to be warmer, greener and more energy efficient through the Home Energy Efficiency Programme, and since April 2016, 34,791 affordable homes have been delivered to end March 2020, over 23,000 of which were for social rent. 

The Scottish Government wants to ensure we have a housing system that is dynamic and resilient enough to respond to future changes, and can help to address the number of challenges we are facing which mean that business as usual is not an option. In Programme for Government 2018-19, the Scottish Government committed to creating a vision for how our homes and communities should look and feel by 2040 and the options and choices to get there. A draft vision and set of guiding principles was published in July 2019.[2] 

Draft vision and principles

Scotland’s National Performance Framework[3] provides the high-level vision for Scotland. The draft housing vision for 2040 describes in more detail what we want the housing system to look and feel like in the future. It is meant to be ambitious and aspirational. The vision is person-centred, and views the system from the citizen’s perspective to reflect the diversity of people, homes and communities across Scotland. The vision is also for all those involved in housing delivery and services - making the vision a reality will require action from Scottish Government, public, private and third sector partners and the people of Scotland. The principles underpinning the vision are a high-level guide to how policy decisions might be made to make the vision a reality. 

Challenges facing the housing sector

The draft vision and principles begin by detailing some of the challenges facing the housing sector[4]. The challenges include the following:

Scotland’s ageing population

Demographic trends show our population ageing with increased life expectancy. This means that demand for health and social care and other support services will rise in the future. The Scottish Government is committed to promoting greater choice and flexibility in housing as we know that living in the right house with the right support helps people to live safely and independently at home for longer and can reduce demand for health and social care services.

More households and changes in household types

The number of households in Scotland is increasing and more people are living alone. One person households are set to become the most common household type in Scotland in the future. With this in mind, consideration must be given to the design and type of new homes we build, and where and how we can make the best use of existing housing stock.

Climate change

It is important that we mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change now and in the future. Homes must be energy efficient and resilient to the impacts of climate change. The Scottish Government is currently updating the Climate Change Plan and Energy Efficient Scotland route map and developing a Heat Decarbonisation Policy Statement, to reflect the increased ambition of the new targets[5] set in the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019. The second Climate Change Adaptation Programme 2019-2024[6] was launched in 2019 to help prepare for the impacts of climate change. 


According to data collected by local authorities, approximately 30,000 households in Scotland were assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness in 2018/19[7]. The Scottish Government has made a number of assurances towards ending homelessness[8], including publishing the Ending Homelessness Together action plan, extending the Unsuitable Accommodation Order and most recently reconvening the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group to help us to further develop and support the delivery of our plans.

Child poverty

Nearly a quarter of all children in Scotland (23%, 230,000) were living in relative poverty in 2018/19[9]. The Scottish Government is committed to ending child poverty and the housing system plays a key part in this. In 2018, the Scottish Government published ‘Every Child, Every Chance: the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2018-2022[10]’ which sets out targets to reduce the number of children experiencing the effects of poverty by 2030. The plan states "housing is a very significant – and unavoidable – household cost that our child poverty targets take into account".

Fuel poverty

Approximately a quarter of households in Scotland (25%, 619,000) are living in fuel poverty[11]. This is driven by challenging weather conditions, poor energy efficiency standards in the home and reduced heating options[12]. The Scottish Government is addressing the challenge of fuel poverty in a number of ways, including helping households to make energy-saving home improvements and agreeing aspirational future milestones for energy efficiency in social housing. 

Consultation responses

The consultation ran between 2 December 2019 and 28 February 2020 and received 209 responses via the Citizen Space online portal and email. However, we removed seven responses that we identified as duplicates. Six of these consisted of identical responses being received from the same organisation and, in one case, two organisations submitted an identical joint response. 

We did not identify any ‘campaign responses’ during our analysis. These are responses submitted through a co-ordinated campaign, often using standard text provided by the campaign organiser.

Overall, we included 202 responses in our analysis. In addition, we analysed notes taken at the 15 stakeholder consultation events hosted by the Scottish Government, which were attended by around 236 people. Any additional responses submitted outwith the consultation period have not been included in this report but will be taken into consideration by the Scottish Government as they develop the Housing to 2040 route map. 

Table 1.1 provides details of the 202 respondents included in the analysis broken down by individuals and organisations.

Table 1.1: Breakdown of respondents by individuals and organisations
Category Number of respondents Percentage of respondents
Individuals 28 14%
Organisations 174 86%
Total 202 100%

Table 1.2 provides further details of the responses, with organisational respondents broken down by type of organisation.

Table 1.2: Breakdown of respondents with organisational respondents classified by type of organisation 
Category Number of respondents Percentage of respondents
Academics 3 1%
Architects, design/development organisations and professional/umbrella organisations 27 13%
Agencies, advisory groups and other national bodies 15 7%
Health and social care bodies and professional/umbrella organisations 12 6%
Local authorities 27 13%
Local third/community sector organisations 20 10%
National third sector organisations 35 17%
Private companies 11 5%
Private landowners 2 1%
Registered social landlords 18 9%
Trade associations 4 2%
Individuals 28 14%
Total 202 100%

Table 1.3 provides a breakdown of the number of responses to each question.

Table 1.3: Responses to each question broken down by individuals and organisations
Individuals Organisations Total responses
Question 1 22 144 166
Question 2 15 99 114
Question 3 21 127 148
Question 4 18 124 142
Question 5 22 124 146
Question 6 17 113 130
Question 7 21 122 143
Question 8 11 94 105

Appendix 1 provides a full list of organisational respondents.

The responses received to this consultation were, in general, high quality. Respondents provided detailed, balanced and relevant information. 

There was also a high level of consensus and commonality in the views expressed across different types of respondents. Although respondents suggested a wide range of ideas and proposals, and some identified challenges unique to rural communities, there were no significant variations or disagreement in responses between sectors.

Stakeholder consultation events

The 15 stakeholder consultation events facilitated by the Scottish Government were held in towns and cities across Scotland. Some of these events were targeted at specific sectors and stakeholders while others were open to the public to attend. 

Analysis of responses

The responses were downloaded from Citizen Space and uploaded into qualitative analysis software NVivo. An initial review of the responses allowed us to generate broad themes that responses related to. We then coded responses into relevant themes and sub-themes and produced the analysis presented in this report. 

The consultation document asked respondents to make detailed suggestions in response to Questions 3 to 7 under a series of suggested headings including:

  • Who needs to make it happen and what type of action is required? E.g. facilitation, regulatory, financial, infrastructure, training etc.
  • How much it costs and who will pay?
  • Who is needed to do the work (workforce)?
  • How long the proposal would take to implement and whether it is a temporary or permanent measure?

It is important to note that most of the responses did not provide the high level of detail requested in the specific questions noted above, although respondents did provide many practical and innovative suggestions which have been included in our analysis.

The responses provided to this consultation are entirely qualitative, and as such we have undertaken a qualitative analysis. While our analysis has not been quantitative, we have used terms to indicate the prevalence of certain viewpoints or suggestions. The following provides definitions of the approximate proportions we are referring to when we use these terms:

  • All - 100%
  • The majority – over four-fifths
  • Many - more than half
  • Some – one fifth to a half
  • A minority - less than one-fifth
  • A few – up to five.

The report

The following chapters in the report correspond to the seven questions asked in the consultation:

  • Chapter 2 - Do you have any comments on the draft vision and principles?
  • Chapter 3 - Do you have any comments on the scenarios and resilience of the route map or constraints?
  • Chapter 4 - Do you have any proposals that would increase the affordability of housing in the future?
  • Chapter 5 - Do you have any proposals that would increase the accessibility and/or functionality of existing and new housing (for example, for older and disabled people)? 
  • Chapter 6 - Do you have any proposals that would help us respond to the global climate emergency by increasing the energy efficiency and warmth and lowering the carbon emissions of existing and new housing?
  • Chapter 7 - Do you have any proposals that would improve the quality, standards and state of repair of existing and new housing?
  • Chapter 8 - Do you have any proposals that would improve the space around our homes and promote connected places and vibrant communities?
  • Chapter 9 – Conclusions

Responses to the ‘any other comments’ question have been incorporated into the analysis of the other questions where relevant.


Email: Housing2040@gov.scot

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