Generation Rent: Shelter calls for 12,000 new homes a year to tackle crisis


‘Manifesto for Homes’ campaign highlights housing needs ahead of Holyrood elections

A LACK of affordable housing is creating a ‘generational gulf’ which requires a massive housebuilding programme of 12,000 new homes by the government, a charity has said.

Shelter Scotland have published their survey results of 1,028 Scots, showing that over two-thirds of respondents feel it is harder to either buy or rent a home now than it was when their parents were young.

The news coincides with the launch of the charity’s ‘ Manifesto for Homes ‘. It outlines four key demands ahead of May’s Scottish Parliament elections, one of which is a commitment to build “at least 12,000 affordable rented homes each year for the lifetime of the parliament, with most of these being socially rented homes”.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “Scotland’s housing crisis risks creating a devastating generational gulf between the housing haves and have nots.

“The high cost of housing and the stuttering supply of new affordable homes set against high and rising demand are at the heart of this crisis.

“Scotland’s housing crisis risks creating a devastating generational gulf between the housing haves and have nots.” Graeme Brown, Shelter Scotland

“Sadly, it is those on the lowest incomes and the most vulnerable people in our society who will bear the brunt of the housing crisis unless drastic and bold action is taken now.

“We want to see an end to housing-related poverty and homelessness in 21st century Scotland and our Manifesto for Homes outlines the four commitments we want all politicians to make to tackle our housing crisis head on.

“We urge all political parties to use the 12,000 target for new affordable homes as a benchmark for their ambitions to bring real hope to the thousands of people in Scotland without a suitable or affordable home while also delivering a major boost to jobs and the economy.”

Both Scottish Labour and the SNP have pledged to meet the 12,000 homes target, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also having promised a “new generation of council house building”.

The charity has also been campaigning on the phenomenon of empty homes, and is calling for a mixture of financial incentives and Compulsory Sale Order powers to tackle the problem. 27,000 houses are currently designated ‘long-term empty’ in Scotland, and 150,000 households are waiting for a home.

Private renting has soared in recent years, with the number of households in the sector having more than doubled since 2005, and rent increases having long outstripped incomes.

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UK-wide figures show that over-45s now account for three-quarters of all homeowners, according to the Resolution Foundation think-tank .

Campaign group Living Rent welcomed the SNP’s amended Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill which was passed earlier this month, but warned that ministers must go further in order to protect vulnerable tenants. The bill gives local authorities limited abilities to implement rent controls, contingent on permission from ministers.

A Scottish Government study in 2010 showed only eight per cent of Scots actually desire to live in the private rented sector while 71 per cent said they would prefer to own their own home.

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Picture courtesy of James Petts and the Resolution Foundation