The successful Scottish housing strategy “More Homes Scotland”, was formulated in response to the region’s increasingly high affordable housing need. Annual targets for social and affordable housing were set and met through proactive strategic interventions. These included capital grants for social housing construction and funding for shared equity affordable homeownership. There were also grants to construct affordable rental housing for key workers: nurses, teachers, policemen, electricians and so on.
The Scottish government set an overall implementation budget, providing robust information on housing needs to every local government area, which was disaggregated into private, affordable and social rental housing segments, as well as the needs for affordable homeownership. This enabled local government to focus on the planning and investment required to deliver these localized housing needs. As part of the Strategy, the Housing Needs Demand Assessment tool was developed. This operates throughout Scotland and communicates reliable housing need information to local stakeholders, informing and building consensus for joint local action and investment.
Expert reviews suggest that the Strategy has been successful, and, despite the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, is on track to meet its 50,000-unit target by 2021. To ensure this, more frequent needs assessments will be required, as well as more focused intervention evaluations, necessitating strategic monitoring. The Scotland Strategy has provided an example to the United Kingdom: for instance, Wales and Northern Ireland have developed similar needs-based assessment mechanisms and affordable housing supply programmes.
With the current Scottish housing strategy about to finish, the government outlined a new long-term housing strategy (Housing to 2040) in early 2021. Its central goal is: “for everyone to have a safe, good quality and affordable home that meets their needs in the place they want to be”. Planned actions include the delivery of 100,000 new affordable homes by 2031/32 and continued effort to improve the climate-neutrality of peoples’ homes.
The Strategy also aimed to improve existing dwellings. For example, it enhanced private rental sector regulation, facilitating longer-term tenancies, strengthened legal dispute mechanisms, and abolished “no-fault” evictions, all leading to more balanced tenant-landlord relations. Energy efficiency standards were also introduced in rental housing, and the rights of homeless people to adequate housing have gained significant focus as well.
To promote home ownership among younger people, the Strategy provided subsidies to young first-home buyers, to be recycled when properties are resold. Long-term soft loans are repaid or recycled when equity loans are returned.https://www2.gov.scot/Topics/Housing