Angus Council is the local authority in Angus, Scotland, responsible for housing services and support. It has a history intertwined with the development of social housing in Scotland, addressing housing shortages and improving living conditions.
Established in 1996 through the merger of three local authorities, the Council manages the social housing stock, provides tenant support, and collaborates with housing associations to meet residents’ housing needs. One such association is Angus Housing Association, which plays a vital role in providing and managing affordable housing options in Angus and Dundee, aiming to secure homes as a fundamental human need.
Since 1999, housing policy has been devolved to the Scottish Parliament, allowing a new approach to develop, to recognise the central role of housing and of good quality of life.
Powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament:
Housing legislation: the Scottish Parliament can pass its own laws and legislation related to housing within Scotland. It includes setting rules and regulations for housing standards, landlord and tenant rights, and building regulations specific to Scotland. For example, The Scottish Parliament has enacted several housing-related acts, such as the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010 and the Private (Housing) (Scotland) Act 2016.
Social housing: the Scottish Parliament has control over social housing policies and the regulation of social housing providers in Scotland. It determines the funding and priorities for social housing, including the provision of affordable homes, allocation of social housing and the responsibilities of the tenants.
Homelessness: power to legislate and develop policies to address homelessness within Scotland. It determines the legal obligations of local authorities in providing housing and support to homeless individuals and families and establish homelessness prevention strategies and initiatives.
Housing grants and support: control over housing grants and financial assistance programs within Scotland. It can establish schemes to provide financial support for housing improvements, renovations, energy efficiency measures and adaptations for disabled individuals.
Powers reserved by the UK Parliament:
For over twenty years and as a result of devolution, Scotland has been empowered to pursue its own housing aspirations. In doing so, it has sought to recognise the central importance of good, safe, secure, and warm homes for people’s wellbeing.
Scotland’s housing policy is independent to those present throughout the rest of the UK. However, the Scottish parliament does still have limited powers, mainly related to the regulation of professionals such as architects.
Housing is crucial to achieving our aspirations of a fairer country and Scotland has continued the trend of outperforming the rest of the UK in delivering affordable housing.
Graeme has supported the building of new affordable houses throughout Angus. The Scottish Government has committed to delivering 110,000 affordable homes across Scotland by 2032, at least 70% of which will be for social rent and 10% in remote, rural and island communities.
What Graeme can do:
- Provide guidance and information to his constituents on various housing matters. This can include explaining housing policies, regulations and procedures and offer support in accessing the relevant resources.
- Collaborate with local community organisations to identify and address housing issues in Angus South.
- Contact the local council to seek for assistance on a particular situation. He can seek the appropriate support and resources to address a particular issue.
- Engage with relevant housing developers, such as Angus Housing Association or private housing developers. By establishing connections with these organisations, Graeme can facilitate communication between his constituents and these organisations.
- Advocate for constituents’ rights and housing quality. He may be able to intervene when some works supposed to be carried out in a property have not been completed adequately, or if his constituents face challenges related to the quality of their housing.
What Graeme cannot do:
- Interfere in the decisions made by the Council: His role is to provide accurate information and assist his constituents in understanding relevant policies and regulations.
- Intervene in legal disputes: between tenants and landlords, or other housing related legal matters. Graeme cannot act as a representative or alter the outcomes.
- Override the local authority’s decisions: While Graeme plays a crucial role in representing his constituents, he cannot influence or change the decision made by Angus Council, for instance.
- Manage or allocate social housing directly: The responsibility for managing social housing lies with local authorities, housing association and other relevant bodies.
- Override planning regulation or change the planning decisions: in relation to any housing development. These are made by the local planning authorities, based on established regulations and policies.
- Provide financial assistance: but he can provide information and support in accessing government schemes or grants.