Falkirk Local Government Pension Scheme Fund has awarded fund manager Hearthstone Investments £30 million to invest in social and affordable housing in Scotland.
Over 300 affordable homes are expected to be delivered with the Scottish Government providing an initial investment of over £6 million towards 126 social homes in Falkirk and Clackmannanshire. Hearthstone predicts its ‘Housing Fund for Scotland’ fund will achieve £150 million total investment from a number of pension funds, delivering over 1,000 affordable and private rented homes.
This is a welcome development and an important step in making better use of local government pension funds, something UNISON Scotland has been promoting for some time. In fact the 'original idea' for this type of investment in Scotland came in a UNISON Scotland paper 'Funding and Building the Homes Scotland Needs' (March 2013). In that paper we acknowledge the earlier initiative in Manchester. Our paper was written with assistance from the SFHA.
It has taken longer than we would have hoped, but none the less welcome, and an initiative that should be copied elsewhere.