Holyrood puts £3.2M into Borders homes

THE Borders’ largest social landlord has welcomed a £3.2million grant to increase the supply of affordable housing in the region, writes Kenny Paterson.

It was announced this week that £582m is to be divided among Scotland’s 32 councils over the next three years as part of the Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP).

Julia Mulloy, Scottish Borders Housing Association’s chief executive, outlined the need for more affordable homes by stating that SBHA only has 600 empty houses each year for 5,000 people seeking homes from the organisation.

She said: “Funding that supports increasing the supply of affordable, energy-efficient housing is welcomed, as are the employment opportunities this investment will create.”

The initiative will encourage councils and housing associations to make greener homes by providing a larger Scottish Government subsidy for houses built to meet higher standards in areas such as energy efficiency.

The Holyrood administration has also promised to provide larger contributions for rural areas such as the Borders, which experience higher development costs.

The chief executive added: “Higher grant rates for developing in rural areas and for investing in energy efficiency is good news.

“In the Borders, developments are more likely to be smaller scale and therefore more expensive and fuel poverty is a real challenge, particularly in remote areas.

“Along with our partner registered social landlords in the Borders housing network, we will continue to work in partnership with Scottish Borders Council to maximise the supply of affordable homes in the Borders.”

SBC’s David Cressey, head of housing and community justice, added: “The allocation of £3.2m will enable the council to take forward its strategic housing investment programme over the next three years and deliver much needed affordable housing in the region.

“In addition, this funding will be allocated to our local housing associations to develop affordable housing which will in turn help support the local construction industry at this difficult time for the economy.”

Housing minister Keith Brown claims the investment means the Scottish Government is on track to deliver more than 6,000 affordable properties per year, 4,000 of which will be social homes.

Mr Brown said the government had listened to councils and housing associations by allocating funds rather than making organisations bid.