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Date: Thu 11 July 2013

Social housing is key says UNISON - as Audit Scotland finds ‘failure to meet need’ for homes

Housing services union UNISON has called for a massive investment in social housing to meet the shortfall of homes identified in a hard-hitting report out today (Thu 11 July).

The Audit Scotland report ‘Housing in Scotland’ finds that the “supply of housing is not meeting current levels of need”, and argues that welfare reform – otherwise known as benefit cuts - “will further increase pressure on the sector”. The report concludes that more funding sources are needed for new social housing to meet the massive shortfall in homes being built.

Mark Ferguson, chair of UNISON’s Scottish Housing Issues Group, said:
“The new Audit Scotland report confirms our view that that we face a huge housing crisis – and that social housing is the key to addressing that problem.

“Our recent housing policy paper ‘Making Homes for a Fairer Scotland’ argues that with over 180,000 people on local authority waiting lists, the iniquitous bedroom tax and other attacks on tenants - and a slump in construction – it is clear that the market and the private sector simply cannot provide the homes we need.”

Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, said:
“The benefit cuts which the UK government is driving through have a disastrous impact on the registered social landlords – councils and housing associations – which should be providing more and better social housing to meet the shortfall. On top of that the Scottish government has failed to fund the social housebuilding programme we need.

“UNISON calls for an expansion of public sector housing. In our recent document ‘Funding And Building The Homes Scotland Needs’ we have made innovative proposals for using pension funds to do this. We believe today’s Audit Scotland report makes the case for the Scottish government to now take proposals like these on board. Social housing is the key to solving our housing crisis in Scotland.”

ENDS

For information please contact:
Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, 07958 122 409
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, 0141 342 2877 or 07876 566 978

Notes to editors:

1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing 160,000 members working in the public sector in Scotland, including staff dealing with housing issues in local authorities, housing associations and the community and voluntary sectors.

2. Our policy document Making Homes for A Fairer Scotland was launched in June – it is available online at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/housing/ MakingHomesForAFairerScotland_June2013.pdf

3. The UNISON Scotland proposal Funding And Building The Homes Scotland Needs on using pension fund resources to build social housing was published in March – it is available online here: http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/housing/ FundingAndBuildingTheHomesScotlandNeeds_Mar2013.pdf

4. The Audit Scotland report Housing in Scotland is published on 11 July 2013. All Audit Scotland reports are available on their website at www.audit-scotland.gov.uk

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