Scotland: New ‘Housing to 2040’ Strategy to Focus on Improved Accessible Housing

SCOTLAND: Plans for a new legal requirement for all homes in Scotland to meet quality and accessibility standards has been included in a major national housing strategy, published today.

The new Housing Standard, applying to all tenures, is an important element of Housing to 2040, which sets out the path for how Scotland’s homes and communities should look and feel in 2040

The standard will create a single set of quality and accessibility standards, according to the report, no matter whether a home is owned or rented.

There will be a new focus on increasing the supply of accessible and adapted homes and improving choice, particularly for younger disabled people who currently face a significant lack of options, it says.

Help will also be provided to older and disabled homeowners who want to move to a home that better meets their needs.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell commented that the new long-term strategy will ensure every person in Scotland has a home that meets their needs.

She said: “Everyone living in Scotland is entitled to a warm, comfortable and safe place to live.

“That’s why we will develop a new Housing Standard which will be aligned to standards for energy efficiency and heating, meeting expectations for housing as a human right and delivering homes that underpin health and wellbeing.

“This will cover all homes, new and existing, with no margins of tolerance for sub-standard accommodation. Importantly we will also enshrine the Standard in law.

“The Scottish Government will work with local authorities, registered social landlords, private landlords and communities to drive improvements to the quality of all homes so that everyone is living in good quality accommodation, regardless of whether they own it or rent it from a private or social landlord.

“Our existing homes need to keep pace with new homes to ensure no one is left behind.”

The report stated that there are a considerable number of people who are not having their needs met or able to choose a home that meets their needs. In summary, it highlighted that 61,000 people in Scotland need adaptations to their home; only one per cent of housing is fully accessible for wheelchair users; and around 10,000 disabled Scots are on housing waiting lists.

In addition, the report stated that the challenges will increase without action as Scotland copes with having a population of 730,000 people aged 75 or over by 2040. “This will put much greater demand on housing and health and social care services to help people to live independently at home and our response must match the scale of the challenge,” it said.

The number of disabled people is also expected to rise, with research by Horizon Housing in 2018 projecting an 80 per cent increase in the population of wheelchair users in Scotland by 2024.

Following consultation, and subject to the outcome of the upcoming election, the Scottish Government will publish a draft Standard in 2023 and introduce legislation in 2024-25, for phased introduction between 2025 and 2030, recognising that different types of homes in different places may need more or less time to achieve compliance.

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