About 60,000 homes are expected to be built in Lothian as a part of the City Deal Programme. It hopes to transform the City of Edinburgh’s housing situation by providing 25,000 extra homes by 2026, according to official estimates.
Last week’s Autumn Statement revealed the UK Government is committed to securing a multi-billion pound investment in the Lothian region, to respond to the growth in population that has recently affected the area.
The City Deal will inject approximatley £1 billion of public money into the capital. A deal on this scale will rely on private sector involvement to drive it forward. The private sector has already allocated £3.2 billion to boost the economy.
Few details regarding the deal have been released to the public, but it is due to be finalised in March next year.
The affordable housing project will affect some Edinburgh areas such as, Edinburgh’s Waterfront, Glencourse Army Barracks, the Royal Victoria Hospital, the former Fire Museum at Lauriston, and the former Lothian and Borders police headquarters at Fettes.
Council leader Andrew Burns said:
“Following last week’s announcement in the Budget Autumn Statement, confirming that the UK government remains committed to securing a City Region Deal for Edinburgh and South East Scotland, I am delighted to say that discussions with the UK and Scottish governments are very much on track.
Given the obvious sensitivities regarding these negotiations, we are not in a position to give further details at this stage.
I can say, however, that the investment propositions being discussed are targeted at accelerating growth in Edinburgh and the wider regional economy for the benefit of the local Scottish and UK economies while also tackling inequalities and deprivation.”
The deal will also give the region greater autonomy in determining investment priorities and will help to identify and deliver appropriate solutions to local issues and opportunities.
Earlier last June, a previous City Deal saw £2 billion worth of funding allocated to innovation hubs, infrastructure investment and a regional housing programme.
MSP Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government and Housing is a member of the Scottish National Party. He said:
“There has been a continuing fall in homelessness applications to 34,662 in 2015-16, which is down 1,287 on the previous year. That represents a decrease of 4 per cent. Of those applications, 28,226 households were assessed as being homeless or potentially homeless, which is down 1,589 on the previous year and represents a decrease of 5 per cent.Our key action in Parliament is to increase housing supply.”
He also spoke about the City Deal itself, and the project to see some new housed built by 2026:
“We intend to deliver 60,000 affordable homes, including 35,000 for social rent, during the current session of Parliament, which will help the situation greatly. As I have said, we have housing options hubs across Scotland, which are working to try to alleviate homelessness throughout the country. I hope that their success continues and that we continue to see decreases, as we have done in the past year.”
Even if the number of homeless applications has been decreasing, a spokeswoman from Shelter Scotland, a local charity, said:
“Every 18 minutes a household in Scotland is assessed as homeless. The average house price in Scotland rose by 75% since 2003 . We believe the housing safety net in the UK is vital and we hope the 60,000 new homes project could help not only the homeless but also people who cannot afford the crazy prices in Edinburgh. I hope the houses will be more affordable in the future”.
by Noemi Distefano and Pau Llosa