Scotland’s social housing retrofit model ‘not fit for purpose’, report finds

Social housing retrofit
(Image: CIOB)

Problems with current Scottish government funding schemes are obstructing large-scale energy retrofit projects for social housing, a new report by the Chartered Institute of Building shows.

Housing associations said that issues preventing them from accessing the funding include financial constraints, the cost-match funding required on their part, last-minute approvals, and the extensive administration work involved in preparing an application.

Research shows nearly 40% of Scottish households are currently living in fuel poverty, with the vast majority of those in the lowest income bracket, many of whom live in social housing. 

The Construction Industry Training Board estimates more than 4,000 construction workers will be required every year to meet construction demand by 2027.

Need for long-term, joined-up thinking

CIOB is calling for the Scottish government to form a ministerial oversight group on retrofit, tasked with developing a National Retrofit Delivery and Resource Plan.

It says such a plan must consider the financial and workforce resources necessary to bring Scotland’s housing stock up to the standards required to achieve housing, decarbonisation and fuel poverty targets.  

Jocelyne Fleming, policy and public affairs officer for Scotland at CIOB, said that although housing associations have extensive expertise with retrofit projects and are committed to providing good-quality homes, access to funding is inadequate.

“Clearly, the current system available to Scotland’s housing associations to access retrofit funding is not fit for purpose,” she said.  

“The formation of a ministerial oversight group and development of a National Retrofit Delivery Plan will ensure all relevant government departments can work together to think holistically about the resources needed to meet the retrofit challenge and allocate funding strategically across housing tenure and geographical location.

“Without this long-term, joined-up thinking, we risk leaving Scotland’s most vulnerable households living in cold, draughty homes and we will simply not meet the Scottish government’s 2030 net-zero targets.” 

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