Coun­cil fight for hous­ing cash

Lennox Herald - - NEWS -

More than 400 coun­cil homes could be built acrossWest Dun­bar­ton­shire over the next five years as part of a £40mil­lion pro­ject if the coun­cil win a bat­tle to se­cure more fund­ing.

Frus­trated mem­bers of the Labour ad­min­is­tra­tion have ex­pressed con­cern that they are los­ing out on £13,000 per home built com­pared to cash handed to hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions.

Rul­ing coun­cil­lors vowed to build 100 more homes than the 335 al­ready planned across the area if they man­age to get the cash gap plugged.

Coun­cil­lor David McBride told the hous­ing and com­mu­ni­ties com­mit­tee which he con­venes:“We could have 100 new coun­cil homes for rent if the coun­cil is awarded par­ity with the hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions. Coun­cils re­ceive less fund­ing from the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment re­gard­ing new builds com­pared to hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions.

“We could build 20 more homes ev­ery year for the next five years if we re­ceive the same sub­sidy.This is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able.

“I have writ­ten to the min­is­ter three times and the replies are get­ting more con­fus­ing and there’s no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion what­so­ever.

“West Dun­bar­ton­shireTenant and Res­i­dent Or­gan­i­sa­tion has writ­ten to the min­is­ter and they have the same view.We are get­ting in­creas­ingly frus­trated the min­is­ter is ig­nor­ing us and plac­ing this coun­cil at a dis­ad­van­tage.”

Coun­cil leader Martin Rooney con­firmed the is­sue had also been raised with the Con­ven­tion of Scot­tish Lo­cal Au­thor­i­ties (COSLA) and added:“We get £57,000 per home, hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions get £70,000.”

A re­port out­lin­ing the coun­cil house build­ing sched­ule for the fol­low­ing five years was pre­sented to the com­mit­tee atWed­nes­day’s meet­ing and de­scribed by the con­vener as“noth­ing short of a rev­e­la­tion for so­cial hous­ing”.

Strate­gic Lead for Hous­ing and Com­mu­ni­ties Peter Barry said:“It’s not a wish­list.We are very con­fi­dent we can de­liver on this pro­gramme.

“West Dun­bar­ton­shire strug­gles with de­pri­va­tion and poverty.

“This coun­cil can make a real dif­fer­ence.”

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