Monday, February 13, 2017

Edinburgh's Housing priorities

At the end of local budget-week, my colleague Joan Griffiths, has drafted a short piece on 'Edinburgh's Housing priorities' --- I'll reproduce the text below, for those interested:

Edinburgh's Housing priorities

The Council passed its 2017/18 budget last Thursday, which included an allocation of £29.1m to be spent on affordable homes in the capital. The Council also plans an increase in council house rents of 2% in the new financial year.

The Council further confirmed that they have invested over £600m in new affordable homes, £120m on improving the quality of existing homes, along with energy efficiency improvements, as well as bathroom and kitchen upgrades.

But the ongoing pressures in the housing market, and the urgent need for more affordable homes in our city, are both well documented.

Here at the City of Edinburgh Council, we are meeting these challenges head-on, with the HRA (Housing Revenue Account) Budget Strategy setting out an expansion and acceleration of the Council’s house-building programme.

With our partners we will deliver 16,000 new affordable and low cost homes over the next 10 years. Work here is well underway with 4,000 affordable, and low cost homes, already under construction by the Council and housing associations on almost 70 sites across the city.

However, building new homes is not enough on its own – we are also committed to creating great places for people to live and prosper. We are serious about tackling inequality from all angles. The strategy looks holistically at tenants’ outgoings and seeks to invest in homes and services to reduce overall household costs and improve our tenants’ quality of life.

The 2017/18 Housing Budget consultation showed overwhelming support from tenants for the plan, with 4 out of 5 respondents supporting at least a 2% rent increase in order to deliver this strategy.

I’ve been in the role of Housing Leader for nearly four months and am really proud of the progress being made by the housing service.  Our strategy is to keep rent levels stable whilst delivering the most innovative and ambitious housing investment programme in the country, and – critically – delivering on tenant priorities.

Housing Convener

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