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Government responds to independent housing report.
The Scottish Government has responded to a report from an independent group that was established to investigate national housing policy.
The Housing and Wellbeing Commission, set up with the support of charity Shelter Scotland, was chaired by Robert Black, the former Auditor General of Scotland.
Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil pointed to steps being taken by the Government to boost housing supply and protect social and private tenants:
At least 50,000 affordable homes, backed up with investment of over £3 billion, over the next five years representing a 67% increase on the current 30,000 target.
A private housing tenancy Bill to provide security and stability to 700,000 tenants as well as ensuring the sector is attractive to investors, with better management and regulation.
Mr Neil said:
"We recognise the critical role that housing plays in promoting social justice, strengthening communities and tackling inequalities.
"We have invested £1.7 billion in affordable housing over the lifetime of this Parliament and have met and exceeded our target to deliver 30,000 affordable homes, including our 20,000 social rented homes target and within that our 5,000 council homes target.
"We are determined to increase housing supply across all tenures, which is why we have set a target of delivering at least 50,000 affordable homes over the next five years.
"We also want to protect and promote the interests of tenants in the social and private rented sectors. We introduced the first Scottish Social Housing Charter, which set out standards that all social landlords should be achieving.
"The Private Housing Tenancy Bill will enshrine in law measures to provide security and stability for hundreds of thousands of tenants
"We will also abolish the bedroom tax as soon as possible by making use of the devolved powers to vary the under occupancy charge within the housing element of Universal Credit. At the same time, for those remaining on Housing Benefit, we will continue to mitigate the bedroom tax fully, through Discretionary Housing Payments."
The Scottish Government's full response to the Housing and Wellbeing Commission report are available at: http://www.gov.scot/isbn/9781786520647