Date: 4 March 2009
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)