The social housing sector has had significant private investment and will need more to help deliver the Scottish Government’s 50,000 houses target. This presents opportunities for RSLs, but also challenges for some.
Speaking at the Scotland Policy Conferences Seminar in Edinburgh, Kay Blair commended the Scottish Government’s commitment of £3 billion to housing over the lifetime of the parliament.
Kay noted that the targets for new homes go beyond the levels social landlords have built in the past. The increase in grant rates and funding will help support this delivery, but the step change will nevertheless bring funding challenges. Kay said: “Currently when RSLs go to the market to seek funding there are usually a number of offers with rates and conditions that are attractive to the borrower. But I would caution that nothing should be taken for granted.
“Some lenders and investors have said that even if they gear up to the maximum extent possible there is a risk that this may not be sufficient to meet demand.”
Effective regulation supports the delivery of the Scottish Government’s national housing priorities by helping to create the environment in which lenders are confident to invest in social housing.
In a wide-ranging speech, Kay also spoke to delegates about the sector’s financial health and discussed the Regulator’s recent statutory interventions in a small number of RSLs.
1. The Scottish Housing Regulator was established on 1 April 2011 under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010. Its objective is to safeguard and promote the interests of tenants and others who use local authority and RSL housing services. The Regulator operates independently of Scottish Ministers and is accountable directly to the Scottish Parliament. The Regulator consists of the Chair and four Board members. More information about the Regulator can be found on its website at www.scottishhousingregulator.gov.uk
2. SHR regulates around 160 registered social landlords and the housing and homelessness activities of 32 local authorities.
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