SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said a new ‘rural housing fund’ announced by the First Minister will help tackle the unique issues faced by the sector in Dumfriesshire.
The rurality of the area creates difficulties in relation to the provision of housing across the region - the fund will be available to community groups and rural landowners, enabling them, and other eligible applicants, to take a more active role in meeting the housing needs of their communities.
The south of Scotland MSP said:
“I recently met with Mike Staples, the Chief Executive of Dumfries and Galloway Small Communities Housing Trust.
“He outlined the unique issues associated with provision of housing in rural Scotland. Today’s announcement of a new rural housing fund will help address these issues and increase the supply of affordable housing of all tenures in rural areas of Scotland.”
The announcement came as the First Minister outlined her final programme for government of the parliamentary term.
Ms McAlpine said the government programme, published yesterday, will improve the lives of people across Dumfriesshire, and builds on the strong foundations laid down by the Scottish Government since 2007 in improving public services and the economy and making Scotland fairer.
The programme also includes measures to improve the transparency and accountability of Police Scotland.
Commenting Ms McAlpine said:
“The Labour party locally have continually attacked the SNP over the creation of the single police force. But recorded crime in Scotland is at a 40-year low with enhanced access to specialist expertise and equipment across Scotland - the single service has already delivered significant, unfortunately necessary, savings while protecting our continued commitment to 1000 additional officers from Westminster cuts, but it has not been without its challenges.
“The First Minister said that a new chair of the Scottish Police Authority would be announced this week, and she would use this opportunity to undertake a review of police governance at national level to ensure early experience is acted on to strengthen the system.
“Accountability and scrutiny of policing at a local level will also be enhanced with the Chief Constable being required to undertake a new programme of public scrutiny sessions.
“I hope that even the local Labour party can acknowledge these measures are to be welcomed.”
The full programme for government can be found here.