£900,000 boost for affordable housing plans

Scottish Borders Council headquarters in Newtown St Boswells.
Scottish Borders Council headquarters in Newtown St Boswells.

Scottish Borders Council’s plans to build more than 1,000 affordable homes over the next five years have been given a boost by the announcement that Holyrood will pledge more money to the scheme.

The Scottish Government has allocated a further £900,000 to build affordable homes in the region, with funding for this financial year now up to £14.1m.

The government has also guaranteed increases for the next three years, with funding rising to £14.9m in 2019-20 and £15.9m in 2020-21.

In total it has pledged £44.855m, £898,000 more than the amount predicted last June.

That extra cash has been welcomed by the council following its publication last year of plans to build up to 1,177 affordable homes, costing £174.5m, by 2023.

A council spokesperson said: “This funding, which increases the grant rates per unit, will be used toward the delivery of the ambitious affordable housing targets as set out in our strategic housing investment plan.

“This confirmed funding over three years will allow the council and partners to deliver new affordable homes to meet the needs of local people at all stages of their lives and right across the Scottish Borders.”

The funding will help yield benefits including the provision of extra care housing, starting in Duns and Galashiels.

Announcing the funding this week, Holyrood housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “Affordable housing is about more than just bricks and mortar – it provides safe, warm homes, and delivers great benefits for the Scottish Borders and the country as a whole.”

“We will work in partnership with the council and housing associations to deliver quality homes to meet the needs of the Scottish Borders, backed with financial certainty. It means the council can plan homes now, with a guarantee that funding will increase each year.”