With control of housing policy devolved to Holyrood, voters interested in Scotland’s future housing landscape could be forgiven for taking limited interest in this Thursday’s general election.
However, many areas of policy with a major impact on housing remain reserved to Westminster. For instance, far-reaching UK Government reforms to welfare policy are having a direct effect on availability, affordability and access in the Scottish housing sector.
CIH Scotland has recently highlighted the negative social impact and spiralling costs of implementing Universal Credit. These impacts include delayed payments leading to a substantial increase in rent arrears, significant resources committed by social landlords towards supporting tenants with the transition and an increasing reluctance by private landlords to let property to Universal Credit claimants.
Meanwhile, 21,000 younger Scots are facing a potential rent affordability gap of up to £22.6 million from plans to introduce a new lower cap on housing benefit for social housing tenants.
These are policy areas where the actions of a future UK Government will have a real impact on the Scottish housing sector. Anyone interested in Scotland’s future housing landscape should consider carefully the implications for Scottish housing of this Thursday’s election. Having done so, make sure you vote!