The Federation of Master Builders in Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to increase its efforts to solve the housing crisis.
At the 2017 SNP conference in Glasgow on Tuesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said housing is “one of the biggest issues of our time”.
“When we came into office, council house building in Scotland had ground to a halt,” she said.
“Eight years ago, we started a new generation of council house building. And since then, we’ve built 8,500 council houses.
“Overall, we are building new social housing at a faster rate than any other part of the UK.”
Ms Sturgeon reiterated her pledge to deliver 50,000 more affordable homes over Parliament’s lifetime, investing a total of £3 billion in house building.
The First Minister also warned local authorities who do not use their house building funding that they face losing their allocation altogether in favour of councils who will build homes.
However, director of FMB Scotland Gordon Nelson said if the government is serious about making homes affordable for all Scottish people “then it must be even bolder and consider a broader range of interventions”.
He added: “There were a number of announcements in the First Minister’s speech today (10 October) on how we can increase house building, but it’s worth noting that most of these were re-announcements rather than new policies.
“Scotland could be leading the way if the government were to invest more in new homes and commit to making much better use of our existing housing stock.
“New FMB research, due to be published later this year, will look in to how we can utilise our existing buildings in and around town centres to deliver more new and affordable homes.
“By converting unused space above shops and unused retail space in into residential units, we can transform our town centres and tackle the housing crisis.”