Leader: Housing association’s welcome initiative

THE Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) has more than 45,000 tenants and 26,500 factored homeowners. Since it took over responsibility for the properties formerly run by Glasgow City Council under stock transfer in 2003, it has invested more than £1 billion to create “better homes, better lives”.

GHA is, therefore, a big business. But it is more than a business. It is not a private company. It is a not-for-profit housing association, and proud of it. Its mission is to help those who cannot get on the property ladder but need a well-maintained roof over their heads.

Which is why its intervention into what critics see as property speculation – using a wholly-owned subsidiary, Lowther Homes, to buy up middle-market flats in relatively well-to-do areas of Glasgow and Edinburgh – is potentially a worrying departure for a body dedicated to social housing provision. Given that the flats will not be available to people on the GHA waiting list, such reservations are understandable.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, GHA argues social housing will continue to be its core business and maintains it is using Lowther Homes – funded through borrowing, not from core GHA funding – to create new income to keep rents low for tenants in troubled economic times. This argument has merit. Provided GHA continues to provide affordable, decent properties for a city that does not have its housing troubles to seek, it should not be condemned for a judicious, and properly regulated, move to diversify into the private rental business.