This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
Funding for Edinburgh housing
A ten year funding package of more than half a billion pounds to help deliver up to 10,000 new affordable homes, modernise existing council homes and regenerate deprived parts of Edinburgh was announced today.
Deputy Communities Minister Mary Mulligan announced the package following the decision made by the City of Edinburgh Council to apply to join the Executive's new Community Ownership housing programme.
The Executive will contribute around £600 million to help regenerate the city's housing and communities if the council goes ahead with the transfer of its 25,000 council homes to a new, not for profit registered social landlord. If tenants opt for transfer in a forthcoming ballot, the Council's proposals will unlock the cash which will help to:
• build up to 10,000 additional affordable houses for low cost home ownership or rent,
• regenerate the four priority areas of Sighthill North, Royston and Wardieburn, Pennywell and Leith Fort,
• improve and modernise existing homes to meet the new Scottish Housing Quality Standard,
• support a second phase of regeneration, involving more that 1000 houses, mainly in multi-storey blocks,
• repay the council's historical housing debt which is currently being serviced by rents,
• and support owner occupiers affected by regeneration activities.
Speaking during a visit to Royston and Wardieburn, Ms Mulligan said:
"The Executive is determined to build safe, strong communities where families can flourish. Sustainable communities can't be achieved without decent housing and it is vital that we continue to generate proper investment into the social rented sector.
"Transfer to community ownership will unlock significant funding for the city which is already under immense pressure to provide more affordable housing. If tenants vote yes in the ballot it would mean that many more affordable homes could be built, existing homes could be modernised, key communities would be regenerated and rents would be kept at affordable levels for generations to come.
"Community Ownership also provides tenants with opportunities to have a greater say in the management and development of their homes and they can be reassured that transfer would not affect their existing rights and benefits."
As part of today's announcement, Ms Mulligan confirmed that the City of Edinburgh Council is to take over, from Communities Scotland the management of the Executive's development funding programme for building new and improved affordable homes in the city.
Sheila Gilmore, Executive Member for Community Safety and Housing welcomed the announcement, saying:
"This is exceptional news for the city. The funding means we are able to lever in £2 billion over the next 10 years, allowing tenants across the city to benefit from cleaner, safer neighbourhoods and better quality homes."
NOTES TO EDITORS
The City of Edinburgh Council decided on 24 June 2004 that transfer of its 25,000 houses to a new, not for profit social landlord was the best way of improving housing standards and increasing the provision of affordable homes while keeping rents affordable.
The package announced today draws on a number of funding streams which include the following.
• An annual grant of up to £20 million for ten years from date of transfer from the Executive's Community Ownership budget.
• Up to £15 million a year for three years from the Executive's £175 million regeneration fund, announced last year. The Council will receive this allocation when it is accepted onto the Executive's Community Ownership Programme.
• The Council's share of future right to buy receipts which are estimated to be in the region of £6 to £8 million each year for ten years from the date of transfer.
• Following transfer, HM Treasury will provide a grant to redeem the Council's residual Housing Revenue Account (HRA) debt and meet associated breakage costs. Edinburgh's HRA debt is currently around £260 million with associated breakage costs in the region of £50 million.
Communities Scotland previously managed the development programme that has invested £100 million in delivering 2500 new and improved affordable homes in the city of Edinburgh since 1999/00. The Council will now manage this programme which is worth around £17.5 million each year.
In May 2004, Stirling Council became the first Council to join the Executive's new community ownership programme. Western Isles, Argyll and Bute, Renfrewshire, and Inverclyde councils are also developing transfer proposals and are expected to join the Programme shortly.
Glasgow, Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway councils have already transferred their housing stock to not-for-profit registered social landlords.