Scottish govt to address 'affordable homes shortage'
The Scottish government has announced a £25 million scheme to address the "chronic shortage" of affordable housing that those living in the country are currently facing.According to ministers, the kitty could finance the construction of up to 450 homes over the next 12 months. The money, which is being supplied through Westminster's financial transactions funding, can only be used as a loan and equity investment.However, to tackle this, the Scottish government has created a way to give charities one-off grants that will be used to support affordable housing in the country.Alex Neil, social justice secretary, believes the money could finance the development of 125 social rented homes, while £17.7 million of the funding will be used to aid housing associations in the construction of 300 social homes in Scotland.He feels that everyone in the country should have access to good quality housing that is suitable for their needs and charitable bonds are a fresh way of thinking that can help increase the supply of affordable homes, while also supporting the construction industry. Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association received a charitable bond investment for a housing development in Edinburgh last year. Heather Macnaughton, a spokesperson for the organisation, said that continued financial innovation in the sector is needed to maximise the return on the Scottish government's investment, while also delivering housing that is universally affordable. The investment is one element of a £200 million increase in Scottish government funding to stimulate the country's housing industry and safeguard construction jobs. It is believed that the funding will support at least 6,500 jobs and draw in significant private investment, which combined will add £600 million to the economy.Last month, Margaret Burgess, housing minister, called upon leaders to work with the Scottish government to build a collaborative five-year delivery plan for housing. She said: "We want to make sure that everyone in Scotland has access to good quality housing that meets their needs."We have delivered over 4,000 new council houses since 2009 and are committed to preserving Scotland’s social housing stock by abolishing the Right to Buy, which will protect up to 15,500 social houses from sale and safeguard social housing for future generations."
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