Date lodged: 9 November 2016
To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to increase the provision of disability-friendly housing stock (a) in Dumfries and Galloway and (b) across Scotland.
Answered by: Kevin Stewart 16 November 2016
As part of our promise to build a fairer Scotland, the Scottish Government is committed to increasing the number of accessible homes. All local authorities, including Dumfries and Galloway, are required by law to prepare a local housing strategy supported by an assessment of housing need and demand. The strategy has to set out the current need for specialist provision across all housing tenures that will help to support people to live independently; the likely requirement for this provision over the next five years; how current needs are being met; and what more is planned to meet future need.
Affordable Housing Supply Programme funding decisions are therefore based on priorities identified in Local Housing Strategies and local authority Strategic Housing Investment Plans. Housing for social rent which is delivered through the grant-funded Affordable Housing Supply Programme already has to meet accessibility standards, but funding is also available for specialist housing – for example, helping disabled people with more complex needs to live independently in their own homes.
The minimum standards and guidance for accessibility of new homes, introduced in 2007 to Scottish building regulations, are the best in the UK. Every new home built has to meet these standards, thereby increasing the number of disability-friendly homes, not only in Dumfries and Galloway, but also across Scotland. This benefits not only those with a disability but also the general population as it ages.
We are also working with Disabled People’s Organisations, local authorities and the housing sector to develop appropriate solutions. Our Disability Delivery Plan, which will be published later this year, will set out the further actions we will take to achieve this.