BHA keen for slice of housing investment

BERWICKSHIRE Housing Association’s chief executive said that at time when the need for it is greater than ever she hopes the area would benefit from some of the multi million pound investment the Scottish Government is making in affordable housing.

Housing Minister Keith Brown welcomed the news on Thursday last week that £15 million of existing funding will be accelerated to bring forward the construction of 300 new homes nationwide.

An additional £20 million of new money will deliver a nationwide package to build 350 more new homes.

The measures were outlined in a statement in the Scottish Parliament by Finance Secretary John Swinney and will see the Government invest at least £730 million in the Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) over the next three-years.

Mr Brown commented: “One of our highest priorities is taking action on housing in Scotland, which is why this government is implementing a range of measures to increase the supply of affordable homes, support jobs and increase economic activity.

“We will accelerate £15 million of targeted funding that will enable 300 new homes to go on site earlier than planned.

In addition, £20 million of new funding will be invested in 350 affordable homes, to support jobs in the construction sector, breathing new life in to Scotland’s house building industry and encouraging more sustainable homes.”

“The extra £20m will be allocated this autumn to local authorities for their three year strategic local programmes of new developments in their area, which may be a combination of Registered Social Landlords and Council build. We are discussing the distribution of the £20m with COSLA.”

And Helen Forsyth, chief executive of Berwickshire Housing, said she hoped their commitment to delivering more affordable housing in the area would be boosted by Government funds.

She told ‘The Berwickshire News’: “We are of course delighted that the government is releasing more money for affordable housing.

“We only hope that some of it is allocated to the Scottish Borders. We are currently preparing two projects for new homes in Berwickshire so that we can be ready to take the opportunity should the money become available in this area.

“The demand for affordable housing in Berwickshire is at an all time high. Very few of our homes become available to let and when they do 50- 60 families will bid for a house in the major settlements.

“Families in private rented homes are no longer able to afford homes as the impact of the Welfare Reform bill hits and many families are overcrowded with grown up children and their spouses and children living with their parents.”