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Edinburgh pilot

September 08 2010
A new incentive scheme is being trialled in Edinburgh to tackle the issue of under-occupied homes

Recent research has shown that around 1,000 council homes in the city are under-occupied. Under the pilot scheme, tenants could get up to £1,000 if they move into a more suitably sized home. The money is offered to help with moving costs and decorating. It is hoped that the cash incentive will free up much-needed housing space for families who are living in homes that are far too small for them.

The idea came from the Tenant Incentives Working Group, which the Council set up to look at various incentive options. The group consisted of Council housing staff, representatives from the Edinburgh Tenants Federation and the former Just Rewards programme.

Councillor Norman Work believes the new scheme is a good way of trying to solve the high demand for social housing in the capital: "It's very frustrating that we have rooms lying empty in some of our larger council homes while other families are living in overcrowded accommodation. We hope that this pilot project will act as an incentive for tenants to move and free up much-needed family accommodation.

"There are just not enough large homes in the social housing sector in Edinburgh to meet demand. "In these times of budgetary pressures, freeing up larger homes means families can move out of temporary accommodation."

Betty Stevenson, chair of the Edinburgh Tenants Federation, supported the idea: "We hope this cash incentive will help people living in bigger homes move to more suitable ones.

"Sometimes the thought of packing and moving could put people off, especially in today's current economic climate, but this money will come in useful. Also, smaller homes will also save them money, as they will be cheaper to heat."

Evaluation of the pilot project will allow the Council to decide on future incentive options.

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