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Date: Thu 6 June 2013

UNISON calls for massive investment in social housing

Launch of new housing policy document Making Homes for a Fairer Scotland

Housing services union UNISON has today called for a massive investment in social housing to make the homes we need for a fairer Scotland.

The union’s new policy discussion paper Making Homes for a Fairer Scotland argues that social housing is key to reducing poverty and inequality, and their long-term effects on health and wellbeing – along with an enforceable system of rent control, improved regulation of landlords and decent housing standards.

Mark Ferguson, chair of UNISON’s Scottish Housing Issues Group, said:
“In the face of a housing crisis 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.

“House building levels are at their lowest since 1945. People can’t afford to buy homes and the costs of private sector rents are skyrocketing. There just aren’t enough homes.”

Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, said:
“Housing is a key policy area for any country that aims to reduce poverty and inequality, and their long-term effects on health and wellbeing. The market has failed - only an expansion of public sector housing can fulfil these aims.”
 
“Building social housing will provide secure affordable homes and ensure the best use of public money. It will also create and secure well-paid skilled jobs.

“Local authorities need to use their borrowing powers to fund an expansion of social housing. UNISON has already published a proposal to encourage pension funds to invest with Registered Social Landlords such as housing associations.

Dave Watson added:
 “Private sector tenants need secure affordable homes too. They require a proper system of rent control, improved regulation of landlords and decent housing standards. Of course, rent controls, regulations and standards are only effective as long as they are enforced whenever necessary.”

ENDS

For information please contact:
Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns,
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, 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. Making Homes for A Fairer Scotland is launched today – the document is now 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 recently – it is available online here: http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/housing/
FundingAndBuildingTheHomesScotlandNeeds_Mar2013.pdf

 

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