This Government wants everyone to have a good quality home that they can afford and that meets their needs.
Good housing helps to tackle attainment, reduce inequalities, creates communities, and helps regenerate the places we live in.
Since guidance was published in 2014 to support local authorities in preparing Local Housing Strategies, housing has continued to be a priority for this Government. Local Housing Strategies play a key role in delivering against these priorities, supporting equality and place-making, informing housing investment and service delivery and ensuring the delivery of the right homes in the right places.
We invested £1.7 billion in affordable housing over the lifetime of the previous parliamentary session and we exceeded our target to deliver 30,000 affordable homes by over 10 per cent. We set ourselves an even greater challenge over the lifetime of this Parliament and committed over £3.3 billion to support the delivery of at least 50,000 affordable homes of which 35,000 are for social rent. We ended the Right to Buy, strengthened tenants’ rights by introducing the Private Residential Tenancy, fully mitigated the bedroom tax through Discretionary Housing Payments, introduced Universal Credit Scottish choices, and helped thousands of first time buyers to access home ownership.
By the end of 2021, more than £1 billion will have been allocated to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency in making people’s homes warmer and cheaper to heat. In 2019, we introduced fuel poverty legislation which sets us on a journey to provide greater help for people and sets a target of no more than 5% of Scottish households in fuel poverty by 2040 and no more than 1% of households being in extreme fuel poverty.
We want to ensure that nobody has to face the blight of homelessness and everyone has a safe, warm place they can call home. The Scottish Government has published an action plan setting out how we will transform how those at risk of homelessness receive help and we are moving towards a rapid rehousing approach as recommended by the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group.
Climate Change is perhaps the defining challenge for the 21st century worldwide and our existing and future housing must contribute to reducing greenhouse gases. In early 2018, we published a Climate Change Bill to strengthen our reduction targets and we will be publishing an updated Adaptation Plan detailing how our homes can be adapted to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Developing a Local Housing Strategy is a key corporate activity and provides local authorities with a strategic opportunity to consider the operation of the housing system in its area and to plan strategically for meeting current and future need and demand, and the effective delivery of housing-related services over the lifetime of the strategy. It enables local authorities to make a difference locally and to monitor progress against national and local priorities and targets. It also provides people with a vital opportunity to have their say and influence the future delivery of housing and housing related services in their communities.
The development of this guidance has been a collaborative approach and I would like to offer my sincere thanks to officials from organisations including local authorities, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission for helping to shape it.
This guidance will apply with immediate effect and I commend it to all local authorities.
Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning