Zero Emission Social Housing Taskforce cost and affordability sub-group minutes: 20 May 2021

Minutes of the Zero Emission Social Housing Taskforce cost and affordability sub-group meeting on 20 May 2021

Attendees and apologies

  • Sally Thomas – CEO, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)
  • David Bookbinder – Glasgow & West of Scotland Forum for Housing Associations (GWSF)
  • Michael Cameron – Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR)
  • Mark McArthur – Energy Saving Trust (EST)
  • Craig Spence – Orkney HA
  • Jon Turner – Link HA
  • Stacey Dingwall – SFHA
  • Bruce Cuthbertson – Tenant Representation
  • Tony Cain - ALACHO
  • Dion alexander
  • Shona Mitchell – SFHA
  • Patrick McGrath – Southside HA
  • David Bookbinder – Glasgow & West of Scotland Forum for Housing Associations (GWSF)
  • Laura Caven – Cosla
  • Bryan Leask - Hjaltland HA and Rural and Islands Housing Association Forum

SG Officials

  • Ragne Low – Heat Strategy Unit
  • Amy Tickell – Low Carbon Support Unit

SG Secretariat

  • Catriona MacKean – Scottish Government
  • Naeem Bhatti – Scottish Government
  • Simon Roberts – Scottish Government
  • Tony Cruickshank – Scottish Government


  • Roddy Hamilton – Changeworks
  • Ian Smith – Changeworks

Items and actions

Welcome and Review of Last Meeting

Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and agreed that the last meeting note was an accurate record of discussion and what the key emerging themes are

Feedback on meeting with Bankers without Boundaries and the Financial Roundtable

  • Chair gave an update on the meeting with the Bankers without Boundaries, who could act as a conduit to investment, highlighting the model 15 cities, healthy city project (whole city approach), achieving zero carbon at scale, the city level retrofit and rebuild at scale, which is difficult ot achieve, city retrofit agency approach, regeneration approach on a community wide scale, private market money and the potential interest rates & restrictions in using it, the need to achieve zero carbon by not increasing rents or creating fuel poverty, taking into account who can and cannot afford
  • An update was provided by the Chair on the Financial Roundtable meeting, the group was made of finance industry, investment sector, local authority & RSL, la & RSL issues were highlighted, clarity on size of stock that needs to be retrofitted, technology, demolition & regeneration on the stock not fit for purpose, difficult conversation, gas & electricity prices, engagement & no silver bullet, entire neighbourhood for retrofit, balance cost & benefit, example of levy charge in America to fund work was mentioned, size of scale problem facing, lot of liquidity available & green finance, longer-term payment required, £5bn money required to deliver, SG £1.6bn, £100m net zero fund, not putting innovation risk on tenants, timescales issues 10yrs not practical, what if proposed drives up fuel poverty, overall not fazed by the scale work that needs to be undertaken
  • Highlighted that some organisation may struggle and therefore aggregation may be the way forward, the query of who should be undertaking the quantification to determine this, discussion on the figures that are quoted for EESSH2 which is £6k a unit, but in reality the figure could be closer to £15k a unit, highlighted that in reality is how much can the sector, impact on rent levels and ensure sustainability.
  • Agreement that it would be beneficial if it was clear to tenants what the increase actual was in terms of pounds and pence.
  • Reduce energy consumption first was suggested before addressing fabric first

Discussion on recommendations from the Sub-group and completion of  template & approval process going forward

  • The Chair highlighted that Sub-group recommendations were due to be received in the next few days to allow for completion of the final report
  • Agreement that the first recommendation was precise enough and was agreed at the meeting subject to minor amendments
  • The need for more clarity on the second recommendation  in terms of level playing fields across the highlands and islands for energy costs, the need for pressure on energy suppliers to reduce costs for tenants
  • The need for more detail on tenant engagement process, which is in the original Terms of Reference, the need for everyone singing of the same hymn sheet nationally, making use of the current tenant participation networks/groups
  • The issue of EESSH2 timescales have been identified as insufficient and potentially need expanded, the pressure rents needs to be addressed.

Actions/Next Steps

Completed recommendation templates to be returned by Wednesday (9th)


  • No other business was discussed.
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