Council set to fail on flagship 10,000 affordable homes promise

Edinburgh Council’s ruling SNP and Labour coalition is set to fail on its flagship house building promise, according to new figures compiled by the Liberal Democrats.

SNP and Labour councillors issued a list of policy commitments when they formed a coalition to take control of Edinburgh Council in 2017. The first of these was “to deliver a programme to build at least 10,000 social and affordable homes over the next 5 years”.

However, new figures show this flagship promise is set to fall flat, with less than 6,000 affordable homes to be built within the five-year period.

New papers before the Council’s Housing Committee forecast only 845 affordable homes will be completed in the final year of the Council term. This comes on top of only 5,000 homes built between 2017 and 2021 as reported in previous Council papers.

Liberal Democrat housing spokesperson, Cllr Kevin Lang said,

“SNP and Labour councillors repeatedly promised 10,000 new affordable homes by 2022. It is now clear this flagship promise is set to be an embarrassing flop, with less than 6,000 homes actually being built.

“The reality is that the Council was falling behind its affordable homes target, even before the impact of COVID. In the first three years of the coalition, only 3,500 homes were built when 6,000 or more were realistically needed to stay on track.

“New or vacant homes for social rent can often attract hundreds of applications, such is the level of demand. As things stand, the coalition’s failure to hit its house building targets means some of the poorest and most vulnerable are being left to wait. Worse still, the economic crisis from COVID means there will likely be even more people needing a lower cost home. It shows why the coalition needs to look again at how the delivery of the remaining affordable homes can be sped up”.

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