Local MSP Alex Rowley used a visit to a building site in Cowdenbeath to highlight the need to build more housing for rent and the benefits that can be gained from doing so.
The Cowdenbeath MSP met with a group of apprentices when he viewed the progress in King Street where 33 new council houses are being built by local firm Sharpe Constriction. Mr Rowley said; “The programme of new house build being carried out by Fife Council is very welcome. I congratulate the Labour administration for sticking to the programme and raising the money to build these much needed houses, 2700 across Fife over a five year period puts Fife at the top when it comes to council house building and yet it is not enough. We need the government in Edinburgh to priorities funding for a national house build programme, it is about choices and right now housing must become a priority.
“Since going into the Scottish Parliament I have used every opportunity I can to highlight the housing need in the communities I represent and across the country. Where the SNP government do things that I support I say so but in housing their decision to cut the capital budget was a major mistake that has seen the waiting lists grow at a massive rate with more and more people pushed into the private rented sector where rents have sored. Over the last ten years the numbers of people living in the private rented sector has doubled with no control over the level of rent increases in this sector which between 2011 and 2014 saw an average rent rise of 9.2%. I have supported and voted for rent controls over this sector in the Parliament but to date the SNP majority have voted these down.
“As well as tackling the crisis of a lack of homes what Sharpe is demonstrating is that much needed apprenticeships can be created giving young people the skills that will set them up for life. It is a fact that currently there are not enough people with trades and house builders are struggling to recruit skilled labour”.
The MSP concluded; “These young people I spoke to are getting a great chance and the new build programme across the Cowdenbeath area is helping tackle the major housing issues we have and this can only be good news”.
Sharpe Construction finance manager Mr George McTrusty that the company is focussed on recruiting locally and works in partnership with Fife Council to give young people a ‘real chance’ to gain skills and employment. He said; “As a company we are running an apprenticeship programme and want to create opportunities for young people as well as offering jobs locally where we can”.
Photo shows George McTrusty and Alex Rowley with group of apprentices who work for Sharpe