Scottish Housing Day celebrates everything the housing sector is doing to improve people’s lives
Having a place to call home is crucial to a happy and healthy life and everyone in Scotland should have a safe and warm place to call home. All of us will have a housing story, and I know some of you have shared your own.
Housing also has a wider value beyond a place to call home. Building affordable quality housing is vital to securing economic growth, promoting social justice, strengthening communities and tackling inequalities.
This thinking chimes with our Government policy in this area. It’s why we ended Right to Buy, which will prevent the sale of up to 15,500 homes for social rent over the next decade. And it’s why our bold ambition to deliver 50,000 affordable homes during this Parliament includes a commitment that 70% of these will be for social rent.
Tackling homelessness is a top priority for the Scottish Government. It’s also why we place such importance in tackling homelessness. Scotland already has some of the strongest rights for homeless people in the world. In our Programme for Government this year we’ve set out our ambition to eradicate rough sleeping and transform the use of temporary accommodation backed by an “Ending Homelessness Together” Fund of £50m over five years. We have also established a Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group to lead change in this area.
And it’s why we’re committed to tackling fuel poverty because people struggling to make ends meet shouldn’t have impossible choices to make- whether to eat or heat their home. We’re making half a billion pounds available over the next four years to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency.
When we deliver high quality, energy efficient, affordable homes, they become the cornerstone of socially and economically sustainable communities and contribute to a fairer Scotland. The sort of Scotland we all want to live in.
Scottish Housing Day belongs to us all, and that’s a good thing. It reminds us we need to work in partnership to achieve our ambitions. The Scottish Government can only deliver our ambitious housing supply targets with the help of councils, housing associations, developers and others. Achieving our vision for housing and a fairer Scotland needs their hard work and commitment as much as ours.
That sense of common cause is why Scottish Housing Day- a day that celebrates and highlights everything the housing sector is doing to improve lives has become an important day in the Scottish Housing calendar and I’m delighted to support it.