Published: 14/05/2018 19:00 - Updated: 11/05/2018 10:33

Cheaper home boost welcomed by Highlanders

Written byIain Ramage

housingA CLAMOUR for new homes in Highland could be eased with a multimillion-pound injection of taxpayers’ money to tackle the problem of affordability.

The Scottish Government is increasing last year’s £28.8 million investment to £40.1 million in 2018-19. That will rise to £42.5 million next year and £45.3 million in 2020-21.

It is desperately needed, according to those in the front line facing daily calls from struggling Highlanders.

Alasdair Christie, manager of the Citizens Advice Bureau in Inverness, Badenoch and Strathspey, said: “We see more and more people struggling to be able to afford a home or maintain tenancies.

“A lot of it is down to the fact that they simply don’t have the income to cover the cost of rent and associated living expenses, and the demand greatly outweighs the supply of housing available.

“The emphasis has to be on more council and housing association rented properties being available.”

According to Scottish Government statistics, almost 72,500 affordable homes have been added since 2007.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said affordability was “about more than just bricks and mortar,” by providing “safe, warm homes”.

He said the government was on target to deliver at least 50,000 homes during this parliament through £3 billion of investment, of which 35 percent would be for social rent.

He is working with councils and housing associations “to deliver quality homes to meet local needs”.

Labour regional MSP David Stewart welcomed the extra funding but wants an assurance that the right kind of property is being built.

He said: “We’d invest more in good quality council and social housing, with a mixture of home types, ensuring these options were attractive and available to help relieve the pressure so many young people feel about home ownership.”

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