South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has called for a more ambitious target for the building of affordable housing in rural areas.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament today (Wednesday 7 September) Colin Smyth questioned the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government Shona Robison about the rise in house prices in the Borders and the barriers this meant to attracting workers to the area.

The local MSP urged the Government to review the current target of building just a tenth of Scotland’s new affordable homes in rural areas.

Speaking in Parliament Colin Smyth said: “House prices are rising at a faster rate in rural areas – 13.5% in the Borders alone last year – as more people seek a rural lifestyle post pandemic.

“South of Scotland Enterprise have identified a lack of affordable housing as one of the biggest barriers to attracting the workforce we need in the area.

“Does the Cabinet Secretary accept that the Government needs to review the target that equates to just 10% of new affordable homes being built in rural communities- or demand will continue to outstrip supply driving up further housing costs and prices.”

Commenting after the exchange in Parliament, Colin Smyth added: “Unless we see an increase in new houses being built in rural communities, more local families will be priced out of the market and won’t be able to remain in the community, and local businesses are not be able to fill vacancies because people won’t be able to afford to live in the area.

“Since the Government set its target of 11,000 new affordable homes in rural areas by 2032, the market has changed with bigger demand for rural housing. The Government needs to reflect that change and set a more ambitious target for new affordable housing in rural areas.”

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