Scottish Government
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New era for Scottish housing

A major expansion of a scheme to help more first time buyers get into the housing market was announced yesterday.

The shared equity scheme is part of LIFT - Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers - a new Government package to help people who aspire to own their home.

Communities Minister Stewart Maxwell said 2008 marked the beginning of a new era for housing in Scotland in which councils, house builders, and housing associations have a vital role in delivering change.

Speaking at the Building Homes For Scotland event in Edinburgh, Mr Maxwell outlined the Scottish Government's vision of a housing system that delivers good quality, energy efficient, affordable housing across all tenures.

He spoke of the Government's progress since publication of the Firm Foundations consultation paper in October 2007 and the positive work that is underway through the Housing Supply Task Force.

The consultation ends on Friday and delegates were encouraged to respond to proposals which include:

* Challenging Scotland's local authorities, developers and builders to increase the rate of new housing supply in Scotland to at least 35,000 a year by the middle of the next decade
* Increasing the role of local authorities as landlords by offering financial incentives to councils that have the capacity to fund new council housing
* Ending the Right to Buy on new social housing built by councils and housing associations
* Establishing a Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative to encourage local authorities and their partners to bring forward proposals for sustainable new settlements to meet demand in particular areas

Mr Maxwell said:

"We are about to embark upon a new era for housing in Scotland - an era that will see the creation of a housing system that finally meets the needs of our communities.

"When Nicola Sturgeon launched the Government's ambitious proposals for the future of Scotland's housing in October with Firm Foundations, it was clear action was needed to rectify a housing system that was failing.

"Three months on and we have already taken significant steps towards delivering this vision, but this Government does not underestimate the scale of the challenge.

"Scotland can and should have the prosperous sustainable future it deserves and meeting the housing aspirations of our population is an essential step towards that goal.

"The time to bring change is now and we must seize the opportunity to do so."

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