Council representatives positive over housing future after meeting with minister

Hopes are high that Shetland may be in line for a major investment from the Scottish Government which could help build new and much-needed houses in the isles.

Delegates from the SIC, including councillors Allison Duncan and Betty Fullerton and head of finance Graham Johnston, met housing minister Alex Neil in Edinburgh on Tuesday to persuade him to provide extra cash to help grow the housing stock.

An announcement should be made by the middle of next month. In the meantime an invitation has been extended to Mr Neil to visit the isles to see for himself the housing shortage.

Shetland left out of the last two rounds of allocations to Scottish local authorities, and the council has been left struggling to cope with a thousand names on its waiting list for houses.

“We are looking forward to an announcement in two to three weeks time. We are quite hopeful of a positive outcome,” Mr Duncan told The Shetland Times from Edinburgh.

“Discussions also took place on the future of housing support grant, from which Shetland benefits. We made it clear that any detriment to the current level would be resisted by Shetland Islands Council.”

Mrs Fullerton said it was “very, very important” for Shetland that “we have absolutely got to build houses and we need the money to build them.

“We feel we have been left out and are looking for equitable treatment with other authorities,” she said. “We have a waiting list of 1,000 out of a population of 22,000 and we have very little private rented accommodation and very few houses on the market.”


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