Astonishment at housing comments

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Angus Housing Association (AHA) has accused both Councillor Jim Millar and Servite Housing Association chairman Bill Roberton of sending out the wrong message in their response to the Government’s decision to award just over £1 million of public subsidy for new homes to be built in the county from their Innovation and Investment Fund.

Bruce Forbes, AHA director, said: “I was astonished to read the comments of Councillor Millar and Mr. Roberton celebrating the announcement of what is effectively, a massive and unprecedented cut in Scottish Government investment in affordable housing for Angus, as some kind of success story.

“This year we only have funding to finish six new homes in Kirriemuir and 18 in Carnoustie and have no new starts on site planned for the foreseeable future due to these cuts. The situation is so critical that we have recently had to offer most of our development staff voluntary redundancy.

“If Councillor Millar and Mr. Roberton had any basic knowledge of the current problems being faced by the construction industry in Scotland generally, they would perhaps know that it was only last week reported that those employed in the industry had reduced by 10,000 in the last year. This position is reflected in Angus as all of the local consultants and developers we have worked with in the last 15 years could tell Angus Council but unfortunately, due to the lack of any partnership working by their officers with the biggest housing association and the local developers in their area, Angus Council seem completely unaware or possibly, don’t care about, what is happening in the real world on their doorstep.

“All in all, therefore, I would ask Councillor Millar and Mr. Roberton to reflect on their press release from last week and ask themselves whether or not they have prematurely sent out the wrong message in their rush to congratulate each other at being offered some crumbs from the Scottish Government’s table while the majority of the homeless in Angus continue to starve.

“I would also like to invite them both to join Angus Housing Association in unreservedly calling on the Scottish Government to re-instate the cuts in the Affordable Housing Investment Programme in its forthcoming spending review.”