Finance and policy will determine success of Scotland’s long term housing ambitions

Press Release

Continuously improving Scotland’s housing stock is a vision shared by all stakeholders but requires the right policies and funding become reality.

Scottish Land & Estates, the rural business organisation, made the comments in response to the Scottish Government’s publication of the Housing to 2040 strategy. The document sets out the government’s ambitions for housing including rural homes, the private rented sector and energy efficiency.

Sarah-Jane Laing, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said:

“The Housing to 2040 strategy details many overarching themes that all stakeholders will agree with. We all want to see quality, energy efficient homes in good supply for both urban and rural areas – the challenge is how we achieve that.

“The last decade has seen a raft of new legislation, particularly with respect to the private rented sector and energy efficiency. This is particularly tough for rural areas, where older housing stock is more difficult to bring up to modern energy standards, particularly where dwellings are off grid. It is also an issue for those providing rural affordable rented accommodation, with the cost of improvements outweighing the income that can be received from a property.

“In its strategy, the Scottish Government notes that the total investment required from public and private sources to decarbonise Scotland’s domestic and non-domestic buildings is estimated to be in the region of £33 billion over the period to 2045. This is obviously a huge sum and the question remains how this will be funded and where the burden will lie.

“For the private rented sector to continue to provide quality options for those who wish to rent, we urge the Scottish Government to consider the fact that most landlords are not making significant profits from their rental assets. They will need support to continue to provide quality, affordable and secure options. The majority of landlords in Scotland own one or two properties. They are already struggling to meet the significant amount of reform which the Scottish Government has put in place.

“In our response to this consultation, we proposed that the Scottish Government should ask the UK Government to generate tax breaks for energy efficiency measures. For example, where a property is being sold, LBTT could be charged to the seller rather than the purchaser but with tax breaks available where the seller can demonstrate that works have been carried out to improve the carbon footprint of the dwelling. These tax breaks would encourage people to invest in their homes and increase the quality of housing stock which in turn reducing the nation’s carbon emissions.

“SLE members are key providers of homes throughout rural Scotland – both directly as landlords and through the provision of land for others to build houses. There is much to consider to achieve the government’s aims over the next two decades and it will be the policy detail that will determine its eventual success."