Tackling empty homes in Scotland
Scotland must do more to reduce the number of empty homes in Scotland, according to a new YouGov pol which was commissioned by the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP). The survey found that only 20 per cent of people thought that Scottish councils were doing enough to tackle the issue of derelict properties.
Over 800 homes were brought back into use last year, and it is estimated that there are around 34,000 vacant homes across Scotland. SEHP, launched in 2010, is run by housing charity Shelter and funded by the Scottish Government, and of the 32 local authorities in Scotland, 19 have a dedicated empty homes officer to bring these privately-owned homes back into use.
Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “The work of the dedicated empty homes officers has proven invaluable in everything SEHP has achieved. Clearly there is still some way to go to ensure every area benefits, and local authorities across the country should be capitalising on the opportunities they provide.”
Are mortgage interest rates set to rise?
The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has assessed whether borrowers are ready for a potential rise in mortgages rates. Following three votes in favour of a rate rise from the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee members in June, there has been some speculation that the rates could even rise at some point this year.
A rise in the base rate would be advantageous to savers, following years of low returns. However, for borrowers it could result in an increase in their monthly payments for mortgages and other loans. CML also note that rate rises, when they do come, will be gradual, and that many borrowers will see no immediate change. They say that ‘while borrowers are unlikely to welcome higher rates, most look well placed to withstand rate increases higher than anything that is likely over the next couple of years.’
You can find out more on their analysis at cml.org.uk.
Glasgow unveils a Bonnie new mascot
Bonnie the seal has been unveiled as the new mascot to represent the Glasgow 2018 European Championships. The event, taking place in August next year, will see 3,000 athletes across Europe compete in a range of venues across Scotland.
The mascot was developed following consultation with around 100 children aged seven to 12 from three primary schools, namely Miller Primary, Kelvindale Primary and St Rose of Lima Primary. The name was chosen by the general public from a shortlist.
Leader of Glasgow City Council, Councillor Susan Aitken said: “As the excitement builds ahead of championships time, it’s fantastic to be able to introduce Bonnie – who will engage with young people and communities across Scotland. Her gregarious and playful character perfectly embodies the spirit of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships.”