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Shire Councillors Welcome SNP Conference Backing For Affordable Rural Housing

>> 15 April 2014

Aberdeenshire Council SNP Group has welcomed the backing for its position on rural social rented accommodation at the party's Spring Conference in Aberdeen last week.

The motion, which was also backed by the party's Aberdeenshire West Constituency, highlighted the role which community enterprises could play in helping to facilitate accommodation. It was passed by acclaim by delegates.

Moved by Aboyne, Deeside and Upper Donside Councillor Geva Blackett and seconded by West Garioch Councillor Allison Grant, the motion also welcomed the commitment of the Scottish Government to exploring how the supply of new housing could be encouraged.

Speaking afterwards, Cllr Blackett said:

"Many of our small rural settlements struggle to attract and retain young people due largely to a shortage of affordable housing for rent.

"If we want to maintain these communities as vibrant, economically active and sustainable places to live and work, then it's clear that we need to do more to increase the supply of housing.

"The Scottish Government can be proud of its record to date when it comes to housing. The Government's commitment to exploring how new measures and existing ones, such as the Scottish Land Fund, the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill and the Big Lottery Fund’s Growing Community Assets programme, can empower small rural communities to achieve their ambitions, is one which we warmly welcome."

"For me, community ownership offers an exciting and innovative way forward to tackling this problem. I will be working hard to help communities in my ward to develop sustainable community ownership projects."

Cllr Allison Grant added:

"Our resolution focused on smaller rural settlements throughout Scotland and the difficulties many of our young people find trying to afford to live and work in our communities, keeping them alive and vibrant places to live in.

"I am a mum of three boys and our family has lived in the village of Insch for 30 years. Our oldest son is 23 and studying Occupational Therapy at Robert Gordon’s University and despite the fact that he could probably get work locally, his chances of finding affordable, secure, rented accommodation locally are slim.

"However, times are changing and have changed considerably thanks to our SNP Government and its commitment to plough hundreds of millions of pounds into building a record amount of affordable homes. Its absolute commitment to social rented housing, enabling our Councils throughout Scotland to build more houses than at any time since the early 1990s.

"I'm delighted that the Conference has reaffirmed the SNP's commitment to affordable rural housing, and that the Scottish Government will be moving to empower local communities to better meet their housing needs."

The Wording of the successful motion was as follows:

Conference notes the pressures on small rural settlements in retaining young people and seeks to ensure the continuity of these communities as vibrant, economically active and sustainable places to live and work.

Conference believes that the availability of affordable rented accommodation is a major issue in many of these communities and that community enterprises could have a greater role in delivering accommodation for young people by facilitating provision through social and private property owners.

Conference welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to exploring how new measures and existing ones, such as the Scottish Land Fund, the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill and the Big Lottery Fund’s Growing Community Assets programme, can empower small rural communities to achieve their ambitions.

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