Edinburgh in £128m council, affordable home spend

The City of Edinburgh Council will invest £128 million over the next 12 months improving council homes and building new affordable homes in Scotland’s capital city.

Improvements will be carried out on more than 3,000 council homes — making them “greener, safer, and more accessible for generations to come.”

The investment plan will drive forward the council’s house building strategy, supporting the development, build and supply of sustainable and affordable new homes to address the city’s housing pressures and tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

The council said it aims to be one of the first local authorities in Scotland to pilot a “whole house retrofit” approach to support the council’s net zero carbon commitment.

Councillor Kate Campbell, Convener of the council’s Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work Committee said: “We’re really scaling up our efforts to improve the condition of people’s homes and driving forward our housebuilding programme, so that residents can have permanent homes that are energy efficient, safe and affordable.

“Our ambition has been to deliver 20,000 affordable new homes by 2027 and we’re well on the way to achieving that despite the pandemic and Brexit, which have been really challenging for construction.

“And now we’re having to navigate a cost of living crisis, so we have set a rent freeze for our tenants to support them through this.

“But, longer term, all the work we’re doing now to make homes much more sustainable will also help us to drive down fuel bills.

“The steps we’re taking to make better use of shared greenspaces is also important for tenants’ wellbeing.

“Our investment plan for the year ahead will make a big difference to our tenants, both their quality of life in their homes, and to their cost of living.”

Councillor Mandy Watt, Vice Convener of the Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work Committee said: “There are huge pressures on housing in Edinburgh and those on low incomes continue to be the most affected by high rents and high bills.

“Housebuilding has a role to play in providing more affordable and energy efficient homes, and to help us meet the city’s growing demand for accommodation.

“While funding and land supply remain two key challenges, we’re doing a lot of work to maximise the number of homes we can deliver.

“But we’re also investing in existing homes and revolutionising housing to provide safer, warmer, and more enjoyable places to live.

“As we carry out this work, there is a real opportunity to work with staff and trade unions to grow our in-house team and further strengthen our repairs service, to provide the very best customer service and value for money we can.

“This is a complex piece of work but we’re committed to exploring opportunities for upskilling and apprenticeships in the years ahead.

“I’m pleased officers are looking into a plan, particularly as we scale up our housing investment as we emerge from the pandemic and move forward with innovative ways of working to make people’s homes energy efficient.

“A report will be brought forward in three months’ time to explore this in more detail.”