John Healey MP, UK Shadow Housing Secretary, visited Kirkcaldy on Friday to learn more about Fife’s UK-leading affordable housing programme.
He was accompanied by Lesley Laird MP on a tour of Overton Road, where 161 homes were recently built by Robertson Partnership Homes on behalf of Fife Council.
Also present were representatives from Fife Council, David Weir, Programme Manager for Affordable Housing Fife and Councillor Altany Craik.
The development – which includes a mix of flats, houses, bungalows and four-in-a-block homes for both social rent and mid-market rent – is leased to Kingdom Housing.
Lesley Laird, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, said: “It was a pleasure to be able to welcome John to Kirkcaldy and demonstrate how Fife is leading the way in tackling housing poverty.
“Too many people across Scotland are being pushed into poverty as they struggle to pay rising rent and heating costs in properties which may be poorly insulated and ill-designed for their needs.
“The proportion of private rentals in Fife – currently 11 per cent – is lower than the Scottish average precisely because our region has an exemplary record in building new affordable social housing.
“A safe, warm home and secure tenancy should be a basic fundamental human right.”
In 2012 Fife Council had no forward housing plan. But under the new Labour administration 2700 affordable homes were built across the Kingdom in partnership with housing associations – the most built in any local authority region in the UK in 2015.
Moreover, this was achieved against a backdrop of the housing grant to local authorities being cut by nearly 60 per cent – a counterproductive move given the scale of the housing crisis.
Lesley continued: “Not only has this Overton development regenerated an area of Kirkcaldy, every new council home we allocate to existing tenants frees up older council homes which reduces Fife’s waiting list.
“And, having re-established Fife’s housing credentials, the work to provide more affordable homes continues under the current Labour/SNP administration which has committed to building another 3500 properties spanning a five-year period.”
John Healey MP added, “Fife Council’s record is an excellent example of how Labour is tackling the huge housing crisis the UK is facing.
“Currently home ownership nationally is at a 30-year low and the next Labour Government will ensure that this ends with one million new affordable homes over 10 years while Labour in Scotland has committed to delivering 12,000 new social rented homes every year.”
Pic: (left to right) Lesley Laird MP, John Healey MP and Cllr Altany Craik