THE Scottish Government’s recent capital spending review has been given a cautious welcome by landowner membership organisation Scottish Land & Estates.
Head of Policy at Scottish Land & Estates Sarah-Jane Laing commented:
“It is encouraging to see that the Scottish Government is looking to achieve maximum value for taxpayers’ money through the capital spending review, particularly in relation to the delivery of affordable housing . The rural homes for rent scheme, developed by Scottish Land & Estates, has proven that private landowners and communities can deliver quality and cost effective affordable housing. There is a strong need to ensure that the government’s new build programme supports this model, either through the Innovation and Investment Fund or preferably as part of the £400 million housing investment budget.
“The housing shortage is one of many major challenges for elected decision makers in regard to rural areas. Another is facilitating the creation of renewable energy projects and it is encouraging to see an acknowledgement that investment is needed to upgrade the energy grid infrastructure in outlying areas. The announcement of an Expert Commission on delivery of district heating is likewise very welcome. However, many of our 2,500 members are severely put off investing in renewables due to grid connection costs and therefore significantly more work is required in this area to rectify the situation. The Government needs to take urgent action to decrease these setup costs if rural areas are to maximise performance in this lucrative market sector.”