Date: 4 March 2009
Councils key to solving housing crisis - UNISON
UNISON – Scotland’s housing union – today urged the Scottish
Government to allow councils to bid for housing grant on an equal
basis with Registered Social Landlords (RSL) in order to increase
the amount of affordable housing in Scotland and create a more
stable housing market.
The union, which has over 10,000 members in Scotland’s housing
services, has released a briefing to all its branches in Scotland
calling for extended protection for mortgages, a moratorium on
repossessions, and to develop new types of housing associations
that don’t rely on subsidies from house sales.
Dave Watson, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser said “The main problem
for Scotland’s housing is a lack of affordable houses for rent.
We welcomed the increased funding for new housing released in
2007, but it must be realised that this only led to a start in
new council housing (432 homes started in 2007).
“We need to re-balance Scotland’s housing so that there are more
and better affordable options, and we don’t rely on home ownership
as the only game in town. To do this we need to ensure that there
is a level playing field - making funding available for council
house building on the same basis as other RSL’s, so they can add
to the affordable housing options available to people.”
UNISON is also concerned that the increase in repossessions
and defaults on mortgages in the owned sector will need further
government action. The union is looking for a short-term moratorium
on repossessions like that suggested by Barak Obama, and for the
government to extend the Mortgage Rescue Package.
Dave Watson said “Our members are no different from the population
as a whole. They are threatened with job losses, mortgage defaults
and repossessions. If predictions are correct they could lead
to one family having their home repossessed every seven minutes
next year. Both the UK and Scottish Governments need to raise
their game to provide further protection urgently.”
For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish
Organiser) 07958 122 409(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer)
0771 558 3729(m)