University of St Andrews

Kim McKee interviewed for Herald Magazine Feature on Social Housing in Scotland

Tuesday 09 February 2016

Dr Kim McKee (Senior Lecturer, DGSD) was interviewed for a feature in the Herald Magazine on the changing role of social housing in Scotland.

Written by Marianne Taylor, the feature titled: 'How has the social housing revolution changed Scotland's heart and soul' explored the impacts of the changing size and function of social housing in Scotland in the post-war period.  As the sector has shrunk in size, and become less socially mixed, it has also become more stigmatised.  Crucial here has been Thatcher's Right to Buy policy, which has had unexpected and significant impacts across all the main housing tenures.  Whilst it made homeownership realisable for millions of council tenants, it has also disadvantaged subsequent generations who now find it increasingly difficult to access social housing.  Indeed, many of these ex-council homes are now rented out privately.

Reflecting on her recent Scottish Government commissioned research on 'Housing Aspirations', Kim highlighted that social housing was now needed more than ever:

“Home ownership remains out of reach for many households who, at the same time, find it difficult to access social housing,” she says. “Unlike the UK Government, the Scottish Government has shown a positive commitment to social housing, and has made resources available to support new supply, which is to be welcomed.  

“But I would like to see them go further. Research last year highlighted that Scotland needs a minimum of 12,000 new affordable homes per year for the next five years. Current targets fall short of this, so there is more to be done, and a need for the importance of housing to be recognised. Housing impacts on so many other areas of people’s lives that it’s important to get it right.”

This nuanced article which highlighted many of the challenges facing low-income households in Scotland underscores the need for housing to be given more attention in the run up to the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections.