Despite admitting there is a shortfall in targets for new public sector rented accommodation including new council houses, the Labour / Tory Administration turned their noses up at a potential £60m windfall for new housing.
The snub came this week at a meeting of Falkirk Council when an SNP motion seeking to investigate using up to 5% of the council pension scheme for new build housing was rejected by the Labour / Tory Coalition, with nothing put forward as an alternative.
The go ahead to invest up to 5% of local authority pension funds in social projects such as new houses for rent was given at a meeting of the Convenors of the Investment Committees from all over Scotland held in March; a meeting Falkirk Council failed to send a representative to.
During the first five years of the Labour / Tory Administration, Falkirk Council missed its target of new housing by 405 units despite receiving almost £31m of Scottish Government investment.
On current projections the local authority will miss the new target by 670 units from 2012 to 2017. Meantime the housing waiting list tops 9000 applicants, hence the intervention of the Scottish Government to encourage the use of pension funds for social projects.
Speaking in the debate SNP Councillor, Tom Coleman said,
“Projects such as the building of new council housing is regarded as a blue chip client for Investment Funds.
In addition to delivering new housing locally, investing up to £60m of the schemes current £1.2billion would create jobs in Falkirk for Falkirk people instead of creating jobs in the far flung corners of the world.
Sadly despite having no alternative proposals and not even attending the national meeting to discuss the option the ruling administration have turned their nose up at the opportunity of hundreds of new council houses and local investment in jobs.”
Falkirk Council’s Strategic Housing Plan identified an annual need of 234 new socially rented accommodation but has a target of only 100 new houses within the Labour Party manifesto.