Sarah Boyack MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Sarah Boyack (Lothian) (Lab)

According to the Scottish Government’s own statistics, which were published this weekend, 70,000 posts have disappeared from local authorities since 2008. Is the minister able to tell the chamber how many of those jobs were related to community safety initiatives?



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
17. Sarah Boyack (Lothian) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government what support it is providing to local authorities to ensure that there is suitable accommodation to deal with the projected increase in school rolls. (S4O-03587)



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Sarah Boyack

The City of Edinburgh Council is considering introducing cluster-based learning, although its strong preference is to build new accommodation. The cabinet secretary will be aware of the pressure on council budgets. Given the demographic pressure on Edinburgh and the council’s review of its school estate, can the cabinet secretary update Parliament on what discussions he has had with the City of Edinburgh Council and what particular support his Government is providing to help to ensure the right capacity and the right quality in our school provision?



Meeting of the Parliament 30 September 2014 : Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Sarah Boyack (Lothian) (Lab)

It is a pleasure to follow Gordon MacDonald this afternoon because I, too, want to focus on Edinburgh’s housing challenge. The solution cannot be just to export our families to the rest of Scotland, because, to be honest, that is what we have seen over the past few years. We need to have high-quality, affordable housing in the capital. We need quality housing and we need it where people want to stay; it needs to be accessible and of the right size. We also need existing housing to be in good condition. Above all—this is where I very much agree with Gordon MacDonald—it needs to be affordable.

The minister said that there has been a reduction in the number of homeless people in Edinburgh. However, if we look more closely at the statistics we will see that although there is a slight reduction in the number of homeless people, they are all staying a lot longer in temporary accommodation. We have a problem about the housing that people move on to when they are first made homeless. That is not just about the bricks and mortar; it is about the social support that people have.

I emphasise the sheer scale of demand. Our population is expected to grow by 25 per cent to the year 2035, but the average Scottish figure is 10 per cent. If we are to take our household increases, a 43 per cent increase is expected by 2035. That is a huge increase in demand, for which the capacity is simply not being delivered. In effect, that means 95,000 new households in the city. We need the right kind of housing but we also need sustainable communities—a mix of houses to buy and, crucially, of social rented housing.

It is a pity that the Minister for Local Government and Planning is not here—although I am sure that Marco Biagi will follow on this point—because he, too, should be involved in this process. It is not just an issue for the Minister for Housing and Welfare. The two ministers and their teams need to work together.

In particular, the Minister for Local Government and Planning needs to work with local authorities to ensure that, where they have planning policies to support the development of brownfield sites for local-needs housing, they are backed up by the Scottish Government’s planning decisions and not frustrated in their ambitions to create sustainable communities. The recent Scottish Government reporter’s decision on Lutton Court drives a coach and horses through the council’s approved local plan, and creates a real crisis across the city with regard to the council’s influence over the right type of housing development.

We need new housing, and accessible homes for older people in particular. The number of older people is predicted to increase dramatically, and a particular challenge is that the number of those aged over 65 is expected to grow by 70 per cent.

When I asked the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing in the chamber about support for care at home, he said that the methodology was being worked on. I emphasise that we are facing a real problem not in the future, but now. It is partly to do with care and partly about the accessibility of housing in which people live. Crucially, the problem is also the affordability and supply of the type of housing that can support older people for what could be 30 years of their life after they reach pensionable age.

With regard to the cost of housing, there are all sorts of substantial challenges for us in Edinburgh just now. The average house price in the privately owned sector is 38 per cent above the Scottish average, and private rents have increased by 26 per cent in the past seven years. Without enough affordable social rented stock, we have a huge problem with demand, and costs are increasing not only for houses to buy but in the private rented sector. That is leading to massive pressure in the cost of living for people and a crisis in the city. That is why Labour has signed up to a bigger picture that includes freezing fuel bills and taking action on zero-hours contracts and the living wage.

A key part of solving the housing crisis and the cost-of-living crisis involves ensuring that the supply of housing is enough to meet the variety of needs that people have. Affordable housing must be at the top of the list so that people can afford to rent and to buy.

The demand is huge. In the social rented sector, there were 133 bids for every property that became available through the choice letting system. That is an average figure across all the houses that were available, and it gives us a sense of just how much of a shortage there is.

We are facing not a future problem, but a current problem. There has not been enough action so far, particularly in the private rented sector. The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 was a missed opportunity, as we can see from the level of year-on-year rises in the cost of rents in Edinburgh. The average private rent in the city is £848 per calendar month. Costs are simply outstripping wages and people’s capacity to pay for housing in the city. That will have a huge economic impact, as we will not be able to attract the people that we need to expand industries such as tourism and the banking and financial sector. We urgently need to deliver more affordable housing in the private and social rented sectors and for sale.



Meeting of the Parliament 30 September 2014 : Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Sarah Boyack

There are three income streams. We need to sort out the systemic underfunding in local government, on which we need cross-party discussions as the Local Government and Regeneration Committee has recommended, and we need to transfer housing benefit to local authorities, as Labour’s devolution commission recommended. Finally, on the point about investing pension funds, 25-year timelines suit the social rented sector and make it possible for that sector to invest.

We need a proper coherent strategy from the Scottish Government, and I hope that we will hear more about that in the minister’s winding-up speech.

16:04  

Meeting of the Parliament 30 September 2014 : Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Sarah Boyack

Will Marco Biagi give way?



Meeting of the Parliament 30 September 2014 : Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Sarah Boyack

Will the minister take an intervention?



Meeting of the Parliament 30 September 2014 : Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Sarah Boyack

Donald Dewar’s ambition was not just to build new houses, but to regenerate, repair and maintain the thousands of houses in Glasgow that were substandard and not fit for purpose.



Meeting of the Parliament 24 September 2014 : Wednesday, September 24, 2014
5. Sarah Boyack (Lothian) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government what additional resources it is providing to address delayed discharges. (S4O-03515)



Meeting of the Parliament 24 September 2014 : Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Sarah Boyack

In his written response to a question from me in the recent purdah period, the cabinet secretary suggested that by next year he will have developed a methodology to assess the cost to individual health boards of delayed discharge. However, the upward trend in delayed discharge in the Lothians is a problem for us now.

We have heard that tackling delayed discharge could release between £100 million and £125 million for reinvestment elsewhere. Will the cabinet secretary clarify whether that resource will go to local authorities to address the issues that he has just identified of the lack of care packages and home care support by councils? Will he clarify what impact the £400 million to £450 million funding gap that Neil Findlay identified a few minutes ago will have on his efforts to transfer that resource from the national health service to our local authorities?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11123 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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NoCarried

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing—As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pear
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NoCarried

S4M-11114 Graeme Pearson: Policing—That the Parliament acknowledges that policing in Scotland contin
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NoCarried

S4M-11116.1.1 Patrick Harvie: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to amendment S4M-11116.1 in the name
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NoCarried

S4M-11116.1 Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-11116 in the name of Jo
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NoCarried

S4M-11116 Johann Lamont: Scotland’s Future—That the Parliament recognises the result of the independ
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NoCarried

Amendment 61 moved by Elaine Murray on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland) Bi
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YesDefeated

Amendment 62 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
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YesDefeated

Amendment 63 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
>> Show more
YesDefeated

Amendment 64 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
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NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Sarah Boyack
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11033: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10989: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10903: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10847: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10511: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10315: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10262.2: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10213: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10112: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09759: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Sarah Boyack
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-22888: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03587: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03515: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22381: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22380: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22374: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22371: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22372: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22373: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22326: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 08/08/2014 Show Full Question >>

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