A new Rural and Islands Housing Action Plan has been announced by the Scottish Government. How will this help to deliver more affordable housing to rural communities?
The Action Plan will support the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, with 10 per cent in rural and island areas.
Bringing together the public and private sectors, the plan will focus on working with local communities to deliver more homes where they are needed and help to drive sustainable economic growth.
The plan aims to deliver sustainable local economic growth for rural communities
Commitments outlined in the plan include supporting affordable and community-led housing delivery, bringing more empty homes back into use, providing more homes for key workers, commissioning research on affordable home ownership in rural and island areas, and addressing challenges with construction supply chains, skills and capacity.
Housing Minister Paul McLennan highlighted that the Action Plan will be key in creating the homes and communities that people desperately need.
He said: “The Rural and Islands Housing Action Plan includes a range of commitments which will be taken forward with public and private sector partners to deliver the right homes in the right places, generate sustainable local economic growth and help rural and island communities to thrive.”
Continuing, the Housing Minister explained that this links to Housing to 2040 and its themes: “This plan supports Scotland’s long-term housing strategy Housing to 2040 and will help bolster the commitment to deliver 110,000 affordable homes up to 2032, of which 70 per cent will be for social rent and 10 per cent in rural and island areas.”
It has been informed by extensive engagement with a wide range of organisations representing rural and island housing interests.
Putting communities first is key to delivering the homes that people need
The ambitions in Housing to 2040 are focusing on bringing benefits to remote, rural and island communities.
This includes those aimed at better use of existing supply such as tackling empty homes, managing the use of second homes and short-term lets as well as supporting additional supply through its Affordable Housing Supply Programme.
Housing Minister Paul McLennan added that Scotland’s communities are at the heart of its plans: “Despite the challenges we face due to Brexit and high inflation, this plan demonstrates our continued commitment to supporting families, communities and businesses, and to unleashing the full economic potential of our rural and island areas.”
Delivering the actions in this plan will require strong collaborative working to support a whole systems approach and calls on partners to work jointly to bring about the changes that Scotland collectively needs to deliver.
It marks an important step in tackling the challenges head-on and puts in place the systems and support for the delivery of the right homes in the right places that will help communities to thrive.