Increased action on rural housing shortages welcomed

Local constituency MSP Kate Forbes says she is looking forward to seeing proposals from Scotland's housing minister to help tackle the issues.' NO F44 Kate Forbes on Raasay
Local constituency MSP Kate Forbes has welcomed a new fund which will allow local authorities to bring empty homes back into residential use.

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Communities in Lochaber and the islands could soon benefit from a new fund which will allow local authorities to bring empty homes back into residential use to help tackle rural depopulation.

Although the headline figure in its new 20-year vision document is 100,000 new homes by 2032, the Scottish Government will be investing up to £30 million in the continuation of the Rural and Islands Housing Fund, giving councils the powers to manage the numbers of second homes where these are a problem and work with Community Land Scotland to bring forward more land for housing in rural areas.

Welcoming the announcement this week, Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: ‘Housing is probably one of the most frequently raised issues with me.

‘A safe, warm, affordable home is the cornerstone of any society and we cannot combat depopulation if there are not enough houses.

‘I am particularly pleased about the government working with Community Land Scotland, as well as local groups, to bring forward more land for housing in rural areas.

‘People living and working in these areas are best placed to help decide how their communities can grow in a way that meets their needs so it is essential they are involved in planning their future development.’