Building a better future for us all

Two local property-selling agents this week reported that the Borders housing market was on the up – one said first-quarter sales soared 24% more than over the same period last year.

Good news indeed for the region’s economy.

But we shouldn’t forget those at the poorer end of the accommodation ladder.

Housing – the lack of – has been one of the hotly-debated topics during the general election campaign.

For some, home ownership is an aspiration on the distant horizon – a gap which they will never, or are unlikely to, close due to a variety of circumstances, not just economic. To cater for them requires an adequate supply of property to rent.

When Margaret Thatcher gave local authority tenants the right to buy their homes at a discounted – some would say knock-down – price in 1980, it allowed many to achieve their dream. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to own your own home.

However, as a consequence the stock of properties for rent reduced, leaving society’s less affluent facing an even greater struggle to put a roof over their heads.

The Scottish Government is ending council and housing association tenants’ right to buy from August next year – let’s hope that creates some more room.