GWSF welcomes Bill aimed at reversing the reclassification of housing associations as public bodies

GWSF news release 5 September 2017, for immediate use

The Scottish Government’s Bill aimed at reversing the autumn 2016 reclassification of housing associations as public bodies has been welcomed by the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations. The Housing (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill had been expected for some time and was published on Monday.

GWSF says it recognises that the Bill is necessary to avoid the Scottish Government having to provide substantial funding to set against housing association borrowing for delivering new homes.

GWSF Director David Bookbinder said:

“We know this Bill is crucial in hopefully bringing about a reversal of the recent reclassification. Whilst supporting the proposed legislative measures, however, we will be keen to discuss with the Scottish Government and Scottish Housing Regulator what checks and balances can be put in place to guard against any excessive disposal of social housing stock.

“Occasional disposal of untenanted stock can be part of any reasonable asset management strategy, but the system of regulatory consent has provided particular reassurance to tenants, lenders and the wider housing sector that the approach to disposals is sensible and proportionate. We trust that the sector in Scotland will act very responsibly once the consents system has gone, but guidance on issues around disposals will be important.

“We would in any event expect Ministers to be very concerned if, in the future, there were any signs that social housing disposals were reaching worrying levels”.