Scottish budget faces backlash for failing to address housing emergency

Scottish budget faces backlash for failing to address housing emergency

16:45 PM, 19th December 2023, About 5 months ago 8

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The Scottish government has unveiled its budget for the upcoming year with promises to invest in affordable social housing.

However, MSPs and industry bodies have criticised the SNP for failing to address the housing emergency in the private rented sector in Scotland.

Edinburgh announced a housing emergency earlier this year and the number of households in temporary accommodation in the city stands at 5,000 – the highest in Scotland.

Affordable housing is key

In her first budget as finance minister Shona Robinson pledged to end homelessness and reduce the number of people living in temporary accommodation.

Ms Robinson told the Scottish Parliament: “Affordable housing is a key area for supporting many to find a home.

“That’s why we will invest £550 million in the supply programme helping to deliver homes for social rent, mid-market rent and low-cost home ownership in communities across Scotland.”

Ms Robinson criticised former Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s comments on homelessness being a lifestyle choice and committed to providing funding to end homelessness in Scotland.

Ms Robinson said: “Unlike some, this government does not think homelessness is a lifestyle choice.

“We know those that are homeless need support not just with housing but often with other complex challenges that they are facing.

“That’s why in 2024-2025 we will commit over £90 million in discretionary housing payments and £35m of additional funding for specific action to end homelessness and reduce the number of households living in temporary accommodation.”

The Scottish government also announced £358 million will be invested in energy efficiency and clean homes.

Slashing the housing budget

However, some MSPs criticised the Scottish government for slashing the housing budget.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats posted on X (formerly Twitter): “The Scottish Budget is a mess of the SNP and Greens’ own making.

“We now know, from this budget, who is going to pay the price for their failure to grow the economy.

“£359m cut from the housing budget since 2022/23 in the midst of a housing emergency.”

During the debate, the Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Alex Cole-Hamilton asked Ms Robinson why the housing budget had been cut. However, she did not address the question directly and argued there is a record level of funding to local government, at over £14bn.

Huge demand crisis in the PRS in Scotland

Propertymark says the Scottish government failed to recognise the impact of tax and investment on affordability and demand for homes.

Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, said: “There is a huge demand crisis in the private rented sector that the Scottish Government is failing to address.

“Scotland remains the most expensive place to invest in the private rented sector across the UK and we need to see more support through grant funding to help agents and their landlords to improve the energy efficiency of homes.

“The Cost-of-Living legislation has raised costs for renters and it’s now imperative that the Scottish Government carry out a review of all taxes impacting private landlords and the wider property sector in order to introduce policies that help meet the demand from renters and tackle the housing emergency.”

A missed opportunity

David Alexander, chief executive of DJ Alexander Ltd, said the budget was “a missed opportunity”.

He said: “The Scottish budget was a missed opportunity to address some of the key issues affecting the housing sector in Scotland.

“There is to be a £550m investment in the supply programme for rent, social rent and affordable home ownership but given the scale of demand and the waiting list for social housing this, although a large amount of money, is still not sufficient to address the issue.

“In many local council areas, the wait for social housing is measured in years and sometimes in decades.

“This is an issue requiring sustained major investment over a prolonged period and the current announcement is welcome but clearly not going to meet demand in the next five to ten years.”

He added: “There is no change to Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) which makes Scotland much more expensive to buy property at a very early stage.

“First time buyers are more punitively hit than anywhere else in the UK with tax starting at £175,000 compared to £425,000 in England and Wales.

“While any property over £325,001 attracts a 10% charge which doesn’t occur south of the Border until properties cost more than £925,000.”

David continued: “There is an additional £358m provided to accelerate the installation of clean heating systems but given that this represents just over 1% of the anticipated £33bn costs of the implementation of these energy efficient products it is clear that the homeowner is still being asked to stump up for the Scottish government’s green ambitions.”

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Janet Carnochan

17:01 PM, 19th December 2023, About 5 months ago

No surprises there then. Being very anti landlord there was no way the Scottish Government would offer any help to the PRS. They need to wake up and smell the roses. Scotland has a housing crisis. Governments are failing to provide houses. Landlords are leaving in their droves due to being so highly taxed and having so many restrictions placed on them. The Scottish Government should look to the PRS as a solution to the problem not the blame.

Mike D

11:07 AM, 20th December 2023, About 5 months ago

It's hilarious how their socialist policies have helped create the very problem that they've now got to deal with, having forced landlords out of business, forced up rents and increased homelessness.
To be so devoid of reality that you don't understand your bleeding heart emotions that it was you that caused your own problems with your own actions, is some kind of beautiful justice and should be, but won't be a lesson for left wing voters...


11:20 AM, 20th December 2023, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Janet Carnochan at 19/12/2023 - 17:01
Scotland also just put income tax again for high earners. I already know someone who has left Scotland for England specifically because of that reason; he saw the writing on the wall. Left-wing governments don't care about that kind of thing though. And the SNP always blames Westminster for its problems anyway so until the Scottish electorate wakes up to the fact that they are being punished nothing will change.

Michael Booth

15:51 PM, 20th December 2023, About 5 months ago

The socialist utopia in all its glory , snp failed on nhs, housing, ferries, education, now pass the financial burden on middle hard working tax payers, landlords ,and blame England for lack of finance, more to come off these snp idiots.

Michael Booth

16:17 PM, 20th December 2023, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Beaver at 20/12/2023 - 11:20
I would find it hard to justify 75k has a high earner these days.


16:57 PM, 20th December 2023, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Booth at 20/12/2023 - 16:17
Average salary in London is £44,370.

Average salary in North East is £31,200.

Average salary in Scotland is £35,500.,the%20UK%202023%2C%20by%20region&text=The%20median%20annual%20earnings%20in,pounds%20in%20the%20North%20East.

It always blames Westminster for its woes but Scotland's SNP government isn't doing well on either health or education. Scotland just slashed the budget for its universities. It used to be the case that if your child came from Scotland or the EU then your child got free tuition at a Scottish University. But if your child came from England or Wales then you had to pay tuition fees.

For years both Scotland and Ireland have followed anglophobe policies. In the end somebody has to pay the bill. And in the end that's Scotland's middle-income earners because lots of other people can just move south (and probably still keep their holiday-homes on Arran).

Janet Carnochan

12:15 PM, 28th December 2023, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Beaver at 20/12/2023 - 11:20
My own husband is nearly 60. We were getting hammered with tax as he was a lorry driver and a landlord. Us not wanting to move due to family ties have cut the no of days he works per week from 5 down to 4 about 3 years ago and will now be going to 3. People don't want to work just to hand it to the tax man. In Scotland we are struggling to recruit high earners to fill jobs like doctors etc because of our tax system. Go South and you will be better off in many areas. It's crazy and Government just can't see it. Even as a Scot, I am fed up with the blame Westminster line every time something goes wrong. We have devolved powers. We can't accept any responsibility for any of our own mistakes.


15:41 PM, 28th December 2023, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Janet Carnochan at 28/12/2023 - 12:15
I love Scotland. I have family in Scotland. I like visiting Scotland, usually May or June when the weather's a bit better and before the midgies really get going. But I wouldn't buy a buy-to-let in Scotland whilst it's run by the SNP. And I'd think twice now about investing in a business in Scotland because they are shifting so far to the left and I suspect that that business will be attacked by the SNP.

I think many Scots who have to work in e.g. Glasgow or Edinburgh in jobs that permit working from home would be better off moving to either Carlisle or Berwick and staying in a hotel in Edinburgh or Glasgow for the one or two days that they actually have to be in an office in Scotland. Or even just taking the train up for meetings.

The SNPs failures are likely to be good for the English borders. But not for Scots and not for Scotland.

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