Borders homes for rent
Housing Minister Keith Brown today kick-started the construction of dozens of new affordable homes in the Borders.
A new financing model, the National Housing Trust (NHT) initiative, will see developers Tweed Homes and Scottish Borders Council jointly funding the purchase of the homes, which will be made available for affordable rent.
The NHT, led by the Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust, aims to increase choice and opportunities for those searching for a home.
It is just one part of the Scottish Government's drive to boost sustainable economic growth and create jobs by finding new and innovative ways to invest in infrastructure across Scotland.
Speaking in Galashiels, Keith Brown said:
"I am delighted that our creative, innovative National Housing Trust funding model, the first of its kind in the UK, has borne fruit. It will help address the demand for much needed affordable housing across the country.
"NHT will deliver dozens of new homes in the Borders, which will be made available for rent at below market rates. Importantly, they have been secured for very little taxpayers' money as well as supporting jobs and stimulating the local construction sector.
"Clearly the NHT has inspired confidence. Councils, developers and housing associations have risen to the challenge and embraced this approach as one that can help ease housing pressures locally.
"There is no doubt these are difficult times, which is why we are supporting the economy by focusing on job creation with targeted capital investment, such as through the NHT.
"But the UK Government must also act and bring forward a new, cost effective programme of infrastructure investment to create new jobs and new capital assets which will further support growth over the short and long term.
"What Scotland really needs is access to all the key levers of economic growth, such as borrowing powers and corporation tax, to enhance investment and create more jobs across the Scottish economy."
Councillor Ron Smith, Scottish Borders Council's Executive Member for Social Work (Children and Strategic Services) said:
"We are delighted to have begun the first National Housing Trust development in Scotland.
"By working with a local developer and a local housing provider we are able to provide much needed affordable accommodation and help stimulate the Borders economy.
"This agreement is an important one which will make a huge contribution to the many families who are looking for affordable homes in the Borders. I have no doubt this scheme will be a huge success and will prove a blueprint that other authorities in Scotland will want to follow."
Barry White, Chief Executive of Scottish Futures Trust said:
"In these challenging economic times, NHT opens the door to a new way to build affordable housing in Scotland. This demonstrates how the public and private sectors can work together in an imaginative way.
"Such innovation is at the heart of Scottish Futures Trust's work. We now have an established model which can be rolled out across other local authorities taking part in the NHT programme.
"It is also a hope that in the future we can enter into similar agreements to deliver more affordable housing in our region."
Jonathan Fair, Chief Executive of home building industry body Homes for Scotland, said:
"The National Housing Trust is making a significant difference to the companies involved in delivering these much needed new homes for the people of Scotland, enabling them to retain vital jobs, skills and capacity that might otherwise be under considerable pressure."
Andy Pearson, Managing Director of Tweed Homes said:
"I am extremely grateful for the support provided by the Scottish Futures Trust, Scottish Borders Council and Scottish Government over the last two years to ensure that the Borders was at the very forefront of this unique opportunity to secure affordable housing and 200 construction jobs."
NHT is one of a range of new measures to help create more new affordable homes for rent and owner occupation across Scotland, as set out in Homes Fit for the 21st Century the Scottish Government's blueprint for housing in the next decade.