Housing budgets slashed

The Scottish Government is proposing to cut the Affordable Housing Investment Programme by over £140 million.

The scale of the cuts is revealed in a private document prepared to assist local authorities with detailed planning. The ‘Resource Planning Assumptions’ for 2010/11 show that councils are being told to prepare for massive cuts of 45 per cent across the board. There are currently 140,000 people on council house waiting lists.

In Falkirk, the provisional budget drops from £8m in 2009/10 to £4.365m in 2010/11. Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie said that she was horrified to see the size of the cut that Falkirk Council were expected to take.

“This looks to me like the housing industry and local communities are being made to pay the price for the centrally imposed council tax freeze.

“I believe ministers are making the wrong choices. It is economic madness to cut house building when we are recovering from a recession. This will throw local housing plans into chaos and cost thousands of jobs.

“Industry representatives say they are facing the worst crisis since the Second World War, with 41 per cent fewer new homes completed in the last quarter of 2009 compared to the previous year.

“The Scottish Government has completely failed to grasp the scale of the crisis and as a result is making it worse. Ministers need to treat housing as a genuine priority and find resources to support construction jobs and provide much needed homes.”

Leader of Falkirk Council, Craig Martin, added that “recently senior construction managers stated that the lack of a replacement for the PPP/PFI policy has given the construction industry in Scotland a double dunt! Now with this decision Scotland’s construction industry has been given a triple Whammy!

“But the reality in Falkirk is less construction work means fewer jobs for the local economy and the impact of that on individual households and the community is becoming a concern. Especially when you consider there are still some 8,000 people on Falkirk’s housing list, the decision to remove over £3m from the affordable housing investment programme shows that this SNP Executive in Edinburgh is out of touch with the people and more importantly the needs of the people.”

Note: RPAs are issued to assist detailed programme planning in collaboration with Local Authorities. Actual allocations will be determined by Ministers following consideration of detailed programme proposals.

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