Scottish Housing to 2040

15 March 2021

Posted on by Wayne MacKay

Housing to 2040

Following the publication of the Scottish Government’s ‘Housing to 2040’ strategy this week, our manifesto for May’s Holyrood election outlines the need for a common electrical safety standard for housing in Scotland. 

Despite electricity being the number one cause of Scotland’s domestic fires, housing legislation and standards are subject to a ‘tenure lottery’ with different levels of protection for different tenures. All electrical installations deteriorate with age and use. They need to be inspected and tested at regular intervals to check whether they are in a satisfactory condition for continued use.

We’ve run our ‘Inequality Street’ campaign for several years now and its core aim is to achieve electrical safety equality across all tenures of housing in Scotland.  The campaign has helped secure protections for tenants in both the private and social rented sectors. However, the owner-occupied sector is lagging behind, despite accounting for the majority of Scotland’s housing (60% in total) and being home to most older people (62%).[1]

Over half (51%) of Scottish homeowners either have not had an electrical inspection or don’t know if their property has ever been checked by an electrician.[2]

There are also risks associated with the divergent safety regimes for mixed-tenure housing blocks, with nearly half (47%) of electrical dwelling fires occurring in flats or tenements during 2019.[3]

The ‘Housing to 2040’ strategy includes plans to develop a new Housing Standard with a legal requirement for all homes to meet the same standards. Our proposals align with this vision – you can read our response to the consultation here. In summary, we’d like to see a common electrical safety standard for all homes implemented during the lifetime of the 5th Scottish Parliament. More immediately, we believe owners of flats should be required to have a five-yearly electrical safety check carried out given the increased fire risk in high density housing. 

We look forward to working with the Scottish Government on its ‘Housing to 2040’ strategy and help protect people, property and communities from electrical risk. 

For more information about our ‘Inequality Street’ campaign click here and you can read our manifesto for the Scottish Parliament Election here.

To discuss our public affairs work in Scotland, contact Wayne at:  wayne.mackay@electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk or on 07973709358.


[1] https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-house-condition-survey-2018-key-findings/

[2] YouGov survey of Scottish homeowners with fieldwork undertaken 21st - 28th February 2017. Unweighted sample of 1884.

[3] Electrical Safety First methodology of fire data provided by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in 2020.

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