Living in a decent home is the top priority for Scots, a recent survey said. Lanarkshire Greens are arguing that it must also be a top priority of the new council on May 4th. The pressure is shamefully high in East Kilbride. South Lanarkshire has lost eleven thousand social homes since 1998, with no previous Labour administration or opposition Party pushing for the action so desperately needed by thousands of local people.
As South Lanarkshire's housing strategy closed for comments describing East Kilbride's situation as 'chronic', Greens support its call for consultation on 'Pressured Area Status'. This would protect existing social housing by cancelling the right to buy for new tenancies. With housing budget cuts greater than ever, SLC's strategy predicts that we cannot afford to build enough housing to meet anywhere near the demand in East Kilbride.
The strategy also highlights the challenge of increasing fuel poverty. The council was awarded grants under the Universal Home Insulation Scheme, negotiated by Green MSPs in a previous budget, where every home, no matter if owned or rented, gets energy improvements.
Recently the council ranked the shortage of affordable housing as the second top risk to the council (1). Local Green, Kirsten Robb, is now renewing her calls for South Lanarkshire Council to apply ‘pressurised housing status’ to the town now.
Commenting on Green MSPs amendments to the Housing Bill on reforming council tenants' right to buy, Kirsten Robb said, "I welcome Patrick Harvie's amendments. Lanarkshire Greens have been campaigning for years for stronger action to address EK's long waiting lists. Yet local politicians have been extremely slow to act and have avoided making EK 'a pressurised housing area', which it most certainly is. If supported by other Parties, Patrick's amendments will protect more social housing in East Kilbride."