18 Apr 2023

CIH Scotland’s response to the First Minister’s priorities for Scotland

Scotland’s new First Minister, Humza Yousaf, set out his priorities for Scotland in an address to Parliament on 18 April. The accompanying publication, Equality, opportunity, community: New leadership – a fresh start, outlines three missions for the newly formed cabinet:

  • Equality – tackling poverty and protecting people from harm
  • Opportunity – a fair, green and growing economy
  • Community – prioritising public services.

In relation to housing, the publication sets out commitments to:

  • Deliver affordable homes across the country, the majority of which will be for social rent.
  • Publish a Remote, Rural and Island Housing Action Plan, setting out the approach to rural housing delivery, including support for community housing trusts, and actions to allow empty homes to be purchased or leased for use as affordable housing for residents in rural areas, including key workers.
  • Introduce legislation on A New Deal for Tenants, including a national system of rent control for the private rented sector, greater rights for tenants to personalise their homes and keep pets, and a new homelessness prevention duty.
  • Reduce the number of people living in temporary accommodation, including consideration of the recommendations published by the Temporary Accommodation Task and Finish Group.
  • Tackle unsafe cladding in medium and high rise residential buildings.
  • Support people fleeing from Ukraine and other displaced people in line with the New Scots Strategy.
  • Deliver human rights legislation protecting economic, social and cultural rights.
  • Continue to support the transition of one million homes to net-zero by 2030.
  • Introduce land reform legislation to improve transparency of ownership, ensure large scale land holdings deliver in the public interest, and empower communities to own their own land and have a say in the use of land in their area.
  • Consult on the introduction of additional Council Tax charges for second homes to support the supply of affordable housing.

Reacting to the announcement, Callum Chomczuk, national director at CIH Scotland said:

“CIH Scotland welcomes the commitment, from the First Minister, about the role housing will play over the next three years, as part of his first major policy statement.

“It is encouraging to hear the recommitment to the delivery of affordable and social housing and to new prevention of homelessness duties both of which are crucially important to improve the housing system for everyone. However, beyond these specific policy measures, the announcement of three central missions: tackling poverty, building a green economy, and improving public services all highlight the key role housing can and must play over the course of this Parliament.

“We can’t address poverty unless everyone has a safe affordable home, we can’t build the green economy without investment and leadership from the housing sector and we can’t improve public services without making high quality housing a key tenant.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Scottish Government to ensure there is the appropriate leadership and funding at national and local level to achieve our shared ambition for the housing sector.”