Homes and Housing

The domestic sector accounts for about 32% of total UK electricity consumption and mostly uses equipment that doesn’t meet current standards of energy efficiency. Scope exists, therefore, for significant savings.

738,000 Scottish households are estimated to live in fuel poverty, according to the last house condition survey. Fuel accounts for about twice as much of total household expenditure for the poorest 20% of the population as it does in middle-income households.

Scotland has the worst housing conditions in northern Europe, yet our homes are the basis of our communities. The Scottish Green Party therefore believes that Scotland must have high quality privately and publicly owned housing. When people cannot heat their homes, it damages their health, education, lifechances and relationships. The lack of appropriate energy systems, coupled with poor insulation, continues to have a detrimental impact on our environment as well as a damaging effect on society.

Robin Harper MSP introduced the first ever members’ debate in the Scottish Parliament on the subject of fuel poverty and home energy efficiency. He went on to propose an amendment to the 2001 Housing Act to set a target to end fuel poverty.

Green housing and planning policies are both practical and visionary. The practical can be seen in the priority we give to tackling cold, damp housing – the single most widespread housing problem Scotland faces. The visionary can be seen in our determination to put some soul back into some of the most desolate public and private estates. Only by making our neighbourhoods places that mix work, leisure and home life will we reverse some of the social isolation and fragmentation of recent decades.

Green MSPs will work for the following:

  • We will introduce a major programme to bring Scottish homes up to the standard of our Scandinavian counterparts, with all homes having an energy rating of no less than 7 out of 10 by 2011. Half a million homes will be powered wholly or in part by renewable power sources within ten years and, where possible, the power sources will be owned by a community organisation or the householder.

  • We will introduce further traffic calming measures, which encourage the area around housing to be used for recreation both for adults and young people.

  • We will continue to resist the development of green field sites, including school playing fields, and ensure that new housing developments are built as part of mixed-use communities rather than as commuter dormitories.

  • We will end transfers of council housing, unless to genuinely community-managed housing associations or co-operatives. We will develop the role of housing associations in investing in community facilities within deprived areas in order to address both social exclusion and economic disparity between different areas.

  • We will introduce a national housing and homelessness strategy that assesses the need for additional money so that councils can respond to new housing and homelessness duties given to them in the first term of the Scottish Parliament. We will also phase out all large-scale hostels for homeless people, replacing them with shared accommodation where service users can participate in service planning and implementation.

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Scottish Green Party, PO Box 14080, Edinburgh EH10 6YG
Tel / Fax: 0131 478 7896