Housing to 2040 includes a specific focus on rural and island housing and commits to “take action so that rural and island communities have access to high-quality, affordable and market housing which has been planned alongside the economic and physical infrastructure and helps people to live, work and thrive – and we will help to stem rural depopulation”.
The Action Plan will bring together relevant work strands of Housing to 2040 through a rural lens. Formal engagement through Housing to 2040 and informal engagement on the Action Plan have identified the key barriers to housing delivery in rural and island areas and includes joint action and solutions to address these. It strategically aligns to National Planning Framework 4, the National Islands Plan and Population Strategy.
Housing has a vital role to play in meeting many of our ambitions for Scotland: tackling child and fuel poverty; ending homelessness; tackling inequality; strengthening communities; helping stem rural depopulation; improving health and wellbeing; addressing the global climate emergency and promoting inclusive growth. Through the housing system, we want to support our most disadvantaged and vulnerable communities and create vibrant places that are sustainable and promote wellbeing.
The Action Plan supports the delivery of affordable homes which is linked to Scottish Government national priorities, plans and targets as well as local priorities that can contribute to the delivery of the following National Outcomes:
- We live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe;
- We tackle poverty by sharing opportunities, wealth and power more equally;
- We respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination;
- We grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential;
- We value, enjoy, protect and enhance our environment;
- We are healthy and active.
The Rural and Islands Housing Action Plan supports the ambitions set out in Housing to 2040, the development of which was underpinned by extensive consultation with communities and stakeholders across the country, including remote, rural and island areas of Scotland.
As part of the Housing to 2040 engagement process, the Scottish Government engaged widely with groups and organisations representing people with protected characteristics. The engagement process gathered evidence on the impact of housing on protected characteristics.
As part of the development of the Action Plan, we undertook further and targeted engagement with a broad range of communities and stakeholders in remote, rural and island communities. This consisted of a range of meetings with key stakeholders and organisations representing a wide range of views of housing in remote, rural and island communities. We tended to engage with organisations and groups directly involved in the development of housing. This included organisations such as local authorities, Housing Associations, Registered Social Landlords and Community Development groups, amongst others. These groups represent the interests of their residents, members and tenants, many of whom will have protected characteristics.
The data used to inform the EQIA is based on evidence from various sources. Evidence from the engagement with groups representing protected characteristics as part of the Housing to 2040 process has been taken into account.
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