Minister resists “one size fits all” policy solution in face of housing crisis concerns

Nathanael Williams

Housing minister looks to private sector for collaboration despite delegate concerns 

THE Scottish Government minister for housing has said that the government wants a focus on a range of building projects with the private sector rather than prioritise social housing.

Kevin Stewart MSP made the comments at a housing fringe event at the SNP’s conference in Glasgow, where an emphasis was made on collaboration with all providers in the social or private sector. 

The ‘mixed basket approach’ was emphasied despite the housing minister being pressed on the need for more affordable homes by delegates from the SNP Aberdeen branch.

“It is a point that perhaps we need to focus on social mobility rather than a one size fits all solution.” Nicola Barclay

Stewart said: “Of course we need to step up the need not only for affordable homes but also efficient homes that can aspire to be carbon neutral . However, it is essential that we make sure that all types of tenure are encouraged and maintained. Affordable housing is crucial but we need a balanced approached.”

A member of the Aberdeen branch complained about the lack of affordable housing in the city for new workers for key workers such as teachers, nurses or doctors. 

The spokesperson stated: “Now we have a real problem in Aberdeen. We have all these shortages for teachers and more. There are these developments going up, a lot of them are private but if you look at the prices it’s tough. Some of them £300,000 or £400,000. It’s impossible to get to there.”

Currently, Scotland has a 10,000 home deficit, which is the number of homes required to be built in order to meet demand both in the commercial and social housing sectors. Before the 2008 recession, approximately 25,000 houses were being built each year but this number was reduced to a yearly average of 15,000 since.

Nicola Barclay, chief executive officer at Homes for Scotland said: “It is a point that perhaps we need to focus on social mobility rather than a one size fits all solution. We need to support all kinds of tenures. For example, you might have a family who needs social housing now but they become more affluent and need a different kind of housing to move to.”

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