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Boost for Scottish social housing as subsidy rates are hiked

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Architects in Scotland have welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to increase subsidies for publicly funded homes

Holyrood announced on Monday that grants for social housing will increase by up to £14,000 for each new home, pushing the rates even further beyond those offered in England. The grants help councils and Registered Social Landlords buy land or existing stock and to build, convert or improve housing for either social and affordable rent.

After the rises, housing associations in Scotland will be offered between £70,000 and £84,000 for each socially rented home and between £44,000 and £46,000 at so-called ‘mid-market’ rents. Rates offered to local authorities are lower, ranging from £57,000 to £59,000.

Rates for both councils and associations contrast favourably with those offered in England.

Average rates offered to affordable housing developers in England have plunged from £53,300 in 2010 to £23,500 at present, according to research for the National Housing Federation.

Neil Baxter, secretary of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, said there was ‘no question’ that increases in funding levels would benefit the profession.

He said: ‘The vast majority of housing associations in Scotland use architects and the quality of homes by some is very, very high. They are producing some of the best housing for rent anywhere in the UK.’

He added: ‘We can only be positive that we have got a government that isn’t simply saying the right things about architecture but that is also following through on legislation with finance.’

However, Scotland’s subsidies will only be offered to projects that meet tough ecological standards.

Announcing the rise, Scotland’s housing minister Margaret Burgess said: ‘Housing is at the heart of our ambitions to create a fairer and prosperous country and councils and registered social landlords will play a critical role in realising that.

‘We have a strong record on housing, having exceeded our target to deliver 30,000 affordable homes in this Parliament. We also started a new generation of council house building and have taken steps to safeguard social housing for the future by abolishing the right to buy.

She added: ‘Our new target will be to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes, which will be backed by over £3 billion of investment.

’The new target is a 67 per cent increase in affordable housing supply, with 70 per cent of the new target being for social rent.’

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