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Scotland seeks international pension funds for affordable housing

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  • Scotland seeks international pension funds for affordable housing

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UK - Strathclyde Pension Fund, one of Britain's largest schemes, is confirmed it is in early discussions with the Scottish government to invest in affordable housing in the region.

The Scottish minister for housing, Alex Neil, said that with budget cuts emanating from the UK government, the pressures felt on affordable housing provision were "acute".

He added: "I am encouraged by the willingness of pension funds like Strathclyde, Calmac, and other institutions to discuss possible future investment in social and affordable housing."

In addition to Strathclyde and Calmac pension fund, the scheme for regional ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne, the Scottish minister said two other UK schemes had been approached, but stressed they were open to investments from overseas funds as well.

He said that changes to Scottish law meant investors would now be able to lease a property for an extended amount of time, having previously been limited to 20 years.

Neil argued that housing should be seen as attractive for pension funds due to their guaranteed rate of return and stressed that while they were keen offer bonds, the area worth exploring was that of equity financing for housing.

"We are prepared as a government to talk to them, to incentivise them to engage - for example, by providing a rental guarantee for five years," he said, adding that such guarantees would only be offered on a case-by-case basis.

A spokesman for Strathclyde Pension Fund, which as of the end of the year had £10.9bn (€12.5bn) in assets under management, confirmed there had been contact with the devolved Scottish government in Holyrood and were interested in starting discussions. However, the local government scheme had yet to see concrete proposals for the investments.

Trustees for Calmac pension fund declined to comment.

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