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Action To Help Households Through Recession

28th April 2009

Swift action by the Scottish Government is helping households and house builders weather the economic recession, MSPs were told today.

Housing Minister Alex Neil highlighted measures, backed by record investment, that are increasing the supply of good quality, energy efficient homes that people can afford.

The Minister detailed steps taken to assist the housing sector and families facing financial hardship and an uncertain future as a result of the economic downturn:

* A record 644 million pounds this year to fund more affordable housing.

* 50 million pounds to kick-start a new generation of council house building - the biggest programme in 30 years.

* A draft Housing Bill laying out a blueprint to safeguard Scotland's stock of social housing for benefit of future generations of tenants.

* The 35 million pound Home Owners Support Fund helping hundreds of homeowners facing repossession to remain in their homes.

* Installing 14,430 free central heating systems in older people's homes, a record number helping many of the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

* A new 60 million pound Energy Assistance Package providing a one-stop shop approach to reducing fuel poverty.

In Parliament today, Alex Neil said: "These are challenging times for the Scottish economy as it deals with the fallout from the unprecedented turmoil in the world financial markets.

"The Scottish Government has moved quickly to respond to the events of the past year; boosting expenditure to support both the sector and individual households.

"It's vital that we take every opportunity to increase supply but I'm determined that quantity should not be achieved at the expense of quality both in terms of the fabric of the houses and the wider environment.

"Our draft Housing Bill consultation paper is proposing further reforms to the Right to Buy, to ensure that these new homes for rent remain available for future generations of tenants.

"And the Energy Assistance Package will improve on previous programmes by reaching more people, and by providing a wider range of support in one integrated package.

"This Government will continue to do all we can, within the budgets available to us, to lead and support households and businesses through this difficult time."

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