Gazette Letters - Housing

I see that Alasdair Allan now claims that the increased building of houses for social rent in the islands since 2007 is due to the SNP.

I personally find this rather disingenuous, he is trying to claim false credit for something he and his party have played a very minor part in.

Folk who know the housing story of the islands will remember that funding for housing was in short supply in the 1990’s due to the high level of housing debt and for that reason the Comhairle decided to take up the Labour administration’s offer of balloting the tenants for housing stock transfer, thereby wiping out this debt.

A policy Alasdair Allan and the SNP opposed very vocally at the time.

That was recommended as the best way of building more houses and bringing existing rented houses up to a better standard.

The result after a tenants’ ballot in 2005 was the transfer of houses owned by the Comhairle to a new social landlord (Hebridean Housing Partnership) in 2007.

The house building boom that followed was due to a combination of debt free stock and the continuing co-operation of the Comhairle to provide financial contributions as partners of Hebridean Housing Partnership.

Indeed the SNP Government cut funding by nearly 40% in 2008 and without this partnership many of the schemes we see today would not have been built.

The current funding levels set by the SNP for building rented housing across the islands suggest that as few as 30 houses a year will be built, and they will have higher rents because of this cut in financial support for each house.

The SNP of course have form in the appropriation of Labour successes, free personal care for the elderly, free transport for the elderly and disabled and fee free higher education were all delivered by the Labour executive but are continually claimed by the SNP.

How much longer can Alasdair Allan and his ineffectual government get away with these falsehoods?

Kevin Paterson

Leurbost