A north-east MSP who hopes to become the next deputy leader of Scottish Labour has vowed to introduce a radical new housing policy based on cooperative ownership.
Richard Baker believes Scotland should turn to European ideas to try and solve the country’s affordable housing shortage which has led to around 150,000 people on waiting lists.
He said Labour’s 2016 Holyrood election manifesto would fully promote cooperative-run social housing if he is appointed to the post.
According to The Co-operative, a person in a shared ownership scheme buys a share in their home, usually between 25% and 75%, and rents the remaining share at a reduced rate from a housing association.
Mortgages help pay for a person’s share in the property.
Mr Baker said only 0.6% of people in the UK live in housing cooperative in comparison to 10% in other European countries.
“In the last year, the number of completed affordable homes has dropped by over a quarter under the SNP,” he added.
“I will ensure Labour is bold and innovative need to do much more and one solution I want to consider is moving to a cooperative-focused model like in other European countries.
“It’s a radical approach and exactly the sort of alternative I want to see Scottish Labour offering.
“As Tory welfare cuts bite, housing cooperatives are finding themselves struggling to balance the books.
“I’m proud that Scottish Labour led the way in mitigating the bedroom tax in the Scottish Parliament and I want us to do even more to help housing associations and cooperatives.”
Mr Baker said it was vital that exploitative rent rises were stopped and more secure leases for tenants are put in place.
“That means doing more to stop housing benefits going into the pockets of private landlords,” he added.
“I want more support for housing cooperatives and I want more houses built.”
Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson and Cowdenbeath MSP Alex Rowley are also contesting the deputy leadership.