No more excuses – time to address Scotland’s housing crisis.

Mark Ferguson
Mark Ferguson

#STUC16 The STUC will press the incoming Scottish Government to back Shelter Scotland’s campaign for a radical programme to build more affordable and social rent homes. It will also campaign for such a building programme to create directly employed construction jobs and apprenticeships.

Supporting, UNISON’s Mark Ferguson told delegates that it is a national scandal that estimates show there are over 150,000 applications  on housing waiting lists in Scotland – 30% higher than 2004.

“We have become so obsessed as a nation with home ownership and how much our properties are worth that we  forget how essential they are to our wellbeing.

“We need to go back to the days when we called them homes – homes are the foundation to good health, education and general wellbeing,” said Mark.

“We must use the Scottish Parliament elections and beyond to demand an end to the crisis by calling for a radical house building programme that creates construction jobs and apprenticeships.”

Shelter has estimated that we need to build at least 12,000 affordable houses each year to meet current and future need.

“UNISON Scotland believes that housing has been left to the market for too long.

The market has failed to deliver. The private owned and private rented sectors cannot address the shortage,” warned Mark, adding that this housing crisis requires a massive programme of social housing investment from the public sector.

“Successive governments have failed to adequately address our housing shortage and we can’t afford more excuses.

He referred to UNISON’S policy paper “Making Homes for a Fairer Scotland” which outlines a new housing programme including how it can be funded, using some of the assets represented by public sector pension funds set out in the UNISON document “Funding and Building the Homes Scotland Needs”.

“There has been a significant rise in private tenancies in recent years. Whilst we recognise that the Scottish Government has made some progress to protect these tenancies much more is needed,” said Mark, calling for rent controls, high housing standards with enforcement powers.

“I will leave you with this thought,” said Mark. “ UNISON’S Scottish Young Members ran a campaign “Gie’s a Hoose” which highlighted the added unfairness for young people.  So if this crisis isn’t addressed parents could have their children staying with them for many many years.”

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