Homes for Scotland

Homes for Scotland launches 2017 awards scheme

Cruden Homes was named Home Builder of the year 2016

Cruden Homes was named Home Builder of the Year in 2016

Industry body Homes for Scotland (HFS) is inviting entries from across a variety of categories for its 2017 awards scheme.

Designed to showcase the wide-ranging achievements of a sector that plays a crucial part in our country’s social wellbeing and economic success, the awards were introduced in 2003 in order to recognise and promote best practice.

This year’s programme features the following categories:

  • Private Development of the Year – large (100+units) (sponsored by NHBC)
  • Private Development of the Year – medium (26-99 units)
  • Private Development of the Year – small (up to 25 units) (sponsored by Blackadders LLP)
  • Affordable Housing Development of the Year
  • Family Home of the Year
  • Supporting Organisation of the Year

Those companies shortlisted for Private Development of the Year will also be put forward for the prestigious title of Home Builder of the Year, with the independent judging panel undertaking interviews with senior management during site visits to recognise the more rounded nature of this award.  In 2017, interviews will also be conducted with those shortlisted for Supporting Organisation of the Year.

All winners will be announced at the Homes for Scotland Annual Lunch at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on Friday 12 May 2017 which will be hosted by comedian Tim Vine.

Now entering its 15th year, it is the largest such industry gathering with a record 1100 guests in 2016.

Chairman Jim Mather said: “The HFS awards remain a key aspect of what we do for our members and this year we are trying to take the refreshed and refocused scheme of 2016 to an even higher level.  That means continuing with a format of more stringent judging criteria, which I believe makes our scheme the most robust in the industry and very much worth winning.
“I therefore strongly encourage member companies to take advantage of this opportunity to showcase the quality and innovation they deliver as their contribution to the thousands of homes of all tenures that Scotland needs.”

The official entry brochure for the 2017 Awards scheme can be accessed here.

Homes for Scotland appoints new director of planning

Tammy Adams

Tammy Adams

Homes for Scotland (HFS) has promoted Tammy Adams to the position of director of planning, responsible for developing and promoting the organisation’s position on local, strategic and national planning policy and practice, and on the infrastructure and utilities needed to support development.

With Scotland’s planning system remaining firmly in the spotlight as the independent root and branch review marches towards a White Paper at the end of this year, there are clear signs that planning performance needs to improve.

Latest official statistics revealed a significant slowing down in the time taken to determine planning applications for major housing developments.

Tammy Adams said she intends to continue to work positively with policy and decision-makers at the national, strategic and local levels.

She said: “Since joining HFS in September 2014 and in particular in recent months, I have seen some very positive signs of planning and development professionals from different sectors talking to each other more openly and constructively.

“HFS members have played a key part in strengthening our discussions with the Scottish Government as well as local and strategic-level planners and we are starting to see some benefits in terms of the wider sector’s understanding of what the home building industry needs in order to bring development plans and housing targets to life.

“I hope this collaborative spirit will contribute to a significant increase in the delivery of the new homes which we need for communities across Scotland, as all involved look to play their part in enabling sustainable development.”

Tammy joined HFS in September 2014 as principal planning advisor, becoming head of planning in February 2016. Prior to this she held a number of senior positions in England, including head of planning with Northumberland National Park Authority and as a planning advisor with the Department of Communities and Local Government.

The appointment will also see Tammy join HFS’ 22-strong Board of industry figures tasked with setting the organisation’s work priorities as it seeks to ensure Scotland has enough homes of all types in the right locations to meet the diverse needs and aspirations of the growing population.

CITB and Homes for Scotland launch fund to train non-trade employees

CITB strategic partnerships manager Michael Lennox and Homes for Scotland chief executive Nicola Barclay

CITB strategic partnerships manager Michael Lennox and Homes for Scotland chief executive Nicola Barclay

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and Homes for Scotland (HFS) have launched a new £250,000 scheme to train non-trade employees.

With the number of homes being built in Scotland still 40 per cent down on pre-recession levels, skill shortages are a major barrier to a much-needed increase in supply.

However, the issue affects much more than just traditional trades with expertise needed across all areas involved in the production of new homes such as surveying, management and sales and marketing.

The Homes for Scotland Professional Skills Fund will run from November 2016 to December 2017. Its aim is to ensure that non-trade staff get the necessary training to ensure the industry can deliver the tens of thousands of homes Scotland requires.

The fund will help CITB levy-paying members of HFS to target training for employees, graduate trainees and those on undergraduate placements to ensure that best practice is applied and the highest standards upheld.

Michael Lennox, strategic partnerships manager at CITB Scotland, said: “Scottish housebuilders told us that more needs to be done to address the range of skills challenges in the sector. Working with HFS, this investment is a step towards addressing that important issue and will boost technical and professional skills to ensure that we can build the homes that Scotland needs.”

Nicola Barclay, Homes for Scotland chief executive, added: “Ensuring we have enough homes for our growing population is absolutely fundamental not only to our country’s social wellbeing but also its economic success. With every home built supporting four jobs, the employment potential is huge, so HFS is delighted to be partnering with the CITB to ensure all those working in our industry have training opportunities available to them.”

Shepherd and Wedderburn named Homes for Scotland Conference headline sponsor

Ewan MacLeod

Ewan MacLeod

The real estate and infrastructure practice of Shepherd and Wedderburn has agreed with Homes for Scotland to sponsor its annual conference.

Now in its fifth year, the one day event taking place in Edinburgh on November 2 will be attended by over 100 delegates including housebuilders, registered social landlords, local authorities, councillors and other associated professions.

The conference programme incorporates specialist workshop sessions and themes including: land use and assembly; proposed legislative planning developments; and working with utility companies.

Ewan MacLeod, partner, planning & environment group at Shepherd and Wedderburn, and a conference speaker, said: “This conference comes at a critical time for the housebuilding industry following the Independent Review of the planning system and the widely acknowledged need for changes to deliver more housing. The event provides a fantastic opportunity to meet with leading figures from Government and Industry to discuss what the future of the housebuilding sector in Scotland looks like and how we can all contribute to making it a success.”

In addition to Ewan, other members of Shepherd and Wedderburn’s 29 partner real estate and infrastructure team will be present at the event, which comes just over a week before the firm hosts Property 2016, regarded as the premier gathering for property developers, investors, occupiers, lenders and service providers in Scotland.

Meanwhile Shepherd and Wedderburn has this week relocated its Glasgow teams to new city centre premises following a three-month fit-out period.

1 West Regent Street Glasgow

1 West Regent Street

The firm is the latest business to move into the brand new Grade A eleven storey building, 1 West Regent Street, an M&G Real Estate development. The entire third floor of the building provides Shepherd and Wedderburn’s 90 Glasgow staff and partners with a bright open plan environment in which to work, essential for collaborative working and communication amongst and between the firm’s multi-disciplinary teams.  The new offices also have ample accommodation for client meetings.

Stephen Gibb, Shepherd and Wedderburn chief executive, said: “Up until now, we have been pretty creative at finding ways to accommodate staff and partners in our West George Street office, but the extent to which the business is growing means that we were fast running out of space. The additional headcount from Tods Murray, which we acquired in October 2014,  and other senior hires, including a recent three-partner insolvency team from HBJ, and more recently the appointment of Jamie Grant to the firm’s top-ranked real estate and infrastructure practice meant that staying put wasn’t an option for us.

“1 West Regent Street creates room for us to grow, right in the heart of Glasgow’s business district.”

Planning system ‘failing to deliver’ required number of homes

Tammy Adams

Tammy Adams

New quarterly statistics into housing development decision times show Scotland’s planning system is failing to deliver the homes Scots desperately need, according to Homes for Scotland.

Statistics published yesterday by the Scottish Government revealed that the average decision time for major housing developments, projects of 50 or more homes, was almost 18 weeks slower than the previous quarter.

The time was quicker by more than 16 weeks compared to the equivalent quarter last year.

Responding to the statistics, Homes for Scotland’s head of planning, Tammy Adams, said: “These figures show that Scotland’s planning system is becoming less well equipped to deal with applications for major housing developments, which are key to providing the thousands of homes which our growing population desperately needs.

“The delivery of these homes should be seen as a golden thread running through the planning system but, with average decision times slowing to 48.3 weeks (three times the statutory period of 16 weeks), this is simply not the case.”

The government said the average has been influenced by nine applications with a decision time of more than one year, adding that 70 per cent of the 30 major housing development applications were decided in a time that is quicker than the average.

In addition, there were fifteen major housing applications that were subject to processing agreements with six (40 per cent) of these meeting agreed timescales.

The average decision time for local housing developments was quicker by more than two weeks compared to the previous quarter, and the quickest average decision time since the start of this data collection in quarter one of 2012/13.

Excluding one pre 3rd-August 2009 legacy case there were 1,262 decisions made on local housing applications decided during quarter one of 2016/17. The average decision time for these local housing developments was 12.5 weeks, quicker by more than two weeks compared to the previous quarter (14.7 weeks) and the quickest average decision time since the start of this data collection in quarter one of 2012/13.

In addition, there were 89 local housing applications that were subject to processing agreements with 66 (74 per cent) of these meeting agreed timescales.

Tammy Adams added: “These statistics confirm the urgent need to ensure the planning system responds effectively to address Scotland’s significant housing shortfall. It must do better to support the Scottish Government’s aspiration to see a significant increase in home building to ensure housing requirements are met across the country – and enable it to meet the First Minister’s ambition of delivering 50,000 new affordable homes over the course of this Parliament.

“HFS is committed to working with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders to get to the root cause of the problem and ensure effective solutions are identified and put into practice.”

Homes for Scotland ‘hugely disappointed’ at housing supply decline

Karen Campbell

Karen Campbell

Industry body Homes for Scotland said the supply of housing in Scotland continues to lag behind increasing demand after new figures revealed a fall in housing completions.

Yesterday’s publication of the Housing Statistics for Scotland 2016: Key Trends and the Quarterly Housing Statistics revealed 15,854 residential properties were completed in 2015/16, a two per cent fall on the previous year.

Karen Campbell, director of policy at Homes for Scotland, said: “On this important day of discussion on our country’s housing crisis, the Scottish Government has pointed to the ‘stability’ in new supply when figures actually show a decline.

“The simple fact is that whilst Scotland’s population has increased to its highest ever level, the supply of housing continues to lag ever further behind.

“This is hugely disappointing news for all those looking for a new home and will place further pressure on rents and house prices as demand continues to grow.

“We want to see a return to pre-recession levels of building around 25,000 new homes a year by the end of this parliament which requires a year-on-year increase of at least ten per cent.  We all have a valuable part to play in achieving this if we are to meet the diverse needs, aspirations and life journeys of all those living in Scotland.”

Releasing the statistics yesterday before MSPs debated the levels of investment for more homes at Holyrood, housing minister Kevin Stewart said the figures show good early progress towards delivering the Scottish Government’s target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes over the next five years.

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) said that while it is pleased the Scottish Government has reinstated “a more realistic rate of investment”, the publications highlight that only stability in housing investment will increase the supply of affordable homes.

According to the figures, 2,320 housing association new builds were completed in 2015/16, the lowest level of completions since 1999/00.  

Housing association rate of new build completions and new build approvals since 2008–09

Housing association rate of new build completions and new build approvals since 2008–09

Looking forward, completions will improve, as the number of new build approvals in 2015/16 was 2,906, an increase of around 10 per cent on 2014/15. Future figures for completions should show further increases as more projects are being approved now.

Mary Taylor, chief executive of the SFHA, said: “These figures are a stark reminder of the importance of stable investment in housing. The lowest level of housing association completions in almost 15 years shows the damage that was done when the volume and rate of investment were drastically reduced by the Scottish Government some years ago.

“SFHA is pleased the Scottish Government listened to our case for investment and reinstated a more realistic rate of investment in affordable housing to meet the need of 50,000 households across Scotland. A stable programme of investment – in terms of total budget available and per unit rate of investment – is the only way to increase affordable housing supply.”

Programme for Government 2016-17 – Construction at a glance

HolyroodAfter First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set out the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government to MSPs at Holyrood yesterday, Scottish Construction Now highlights the details and responses of interest to construction and the wider sector.

Infrastructure investment

Over this Parliament, almost £20bn will be invested in a major infrastructure programme designed to help build Scotland’s future.

The Scottish Futures Trust will also continue to review existing Private Finance Initiative (PFI) or Public Private Partnership (PPP) contracts, seeking opportunities to improve value and reduce the cost to the public purse, including ending contracts where possible and appropriate.

House building

An investment of more than £3bn for affordable housing supply over the life of the Parliament, delivering at least 50,000 homes with 35,000 of them for social rent.

The Scottish Government will work in partnership with local authorities to invest more than £572m in affordable housing in this financial year.

Local authorities have been allocated a share of £406m grant subsidy to deliver more affordable homes for 2016-17, over £100m more than the previous year.

The Scottish Government will also continue to help people buy an affordable home through shared equity programmes.

Energy

A new Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) will start in 2018 with accompanying regulation to improve the energy efficiency of the building stock over the long-term. More than £0.5bn will be made available over four years. It will make homes and buildings warmer, improving health and helping tackle fuel poverty, reduce emissions, minimise energy bills and create and support a supply chain across all of Scotland supporting around 4,000 jobs a year once the programme is fully operational.

SEEP benefits include:

  • measures to make homes and places of work warmer, promoting more affordable energy for consumers, helping to tackle poverty and improve the competitiveness of the Scottish economy
  • the opportunity to create a substantial Scottish market and supply chain for energy efficiency services and technologies, with an estimated 4,000 jobs per annum across Scotland, including in remote areas, based on the estimated overall investment of up to £10bn
  • measurable health and early years improvements through people living in warmer homes
  • regeneration of communities through upgraded building stock
  • substantially reduced greenhouse gas emissions contributing to meeting climate change targets

Around £10m for domestic energy efficiency measures – helping make homes cheaper to heat and reducing the costs of energy bills for householders.

A new Energy Strategy will reaffirm the government’s commitment to reducing energy demand and supplying clean energy from renewable sources.

A consultation on the regulation of private rented sector (PRS) housing to increase efficiency standards and heat regulations commensurate with the scale of the heat market. As part of the programme the government will also consult on phased regulation of other existing buildings to bring them up to higher energy efficiency standards as well as look at financial incentives.

A Warm Homes Bill will also be introduced later in the parliament.

Planning

Following the recommendations of the recent independent planning review, immediate actions have been outlined and a Planning Bill will be brought forward early in the Parliamentary session which will commit to a strong, high-performing system that enables housing and infrastructure delivery and supports quality of life of all communities by promoting quality of place and the public interest.

Ahead of proposals for legislative change the recommendation for Simplified Planning Zones will be implemented to help attract investment and promote housing delivery. Later this year the government will work with local authorities to identify suitable locations.

It will also build on the successful, streamlined approach to planning in Enterprise Zones and will work with local authorities to speed up decisions on major projects to deliver investment and economic growth more quickly.

It will also support interim measures to modernise compulsory purchase orders in advance of legislation to ensure vacant and derelict land can be brought back into use.

Digital Infrastructure

A refreshed Digital Strategy which sets out plans to improve access to high quality digital connectivity will be published in late autumn.

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, which is delivering new fibre infrastructure across Scotland, is on track to deliver fibre access to at least 95 per cent of premises in Scotland by the end of 2017; having successfully delivered the 85 per cent target six months ahead of schedule. Over 630,000 homes and businesses across Scotland now have access as a result of the programme.

Water

Scottish Water will continue to invest up to £3.6bn over the rest of the current regulatory period 2015-2021. Projects in every part of the country will help to underpin economic growth – providing water and sewerage services for new housing and businesses as well as improving environment, drinking water and customer service standards.

In particular this period will see major investment in Glasgow to modernise the sewerage network and address long-standing surface water management issues. Lending will continue to be made available to support the programme.

Transport Infrastructure

The Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR) will be reviewed in alignment with the National Planning Framework to enable a comprehensive review of national infrastructure priorities. Progress on key road improvements, including improvements to the A77 south of Girvan, linking to the Cairnryan Ferry hub and the A75 and improvements to connect Dumfries and the M74, will be considered as part this review.

Case for an extension of the Borders railway to be examined along with improvements to the A1, A7, and A68.

Rail

The Scottish Government will deliver its planned investment in the rail network and continue to provide capital funding in support of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport’s subway modernisation programme.

It will also work jointly with Network Rail and the Department for Transport to identify options to improve journey times, capacity, resilience and reliability on routes between Scotland and England, including a three hour journey time between the central belt and London.

In 2016-17 it will continue to deliver a range of network improvement works through key rail projects, including the Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme, the Aberdeen to Inverness line, the Highland Main Line, Stirling-Dunblane-Alloa Electrification and the redevelopment of Dundee Station.

Road

The £1.4 billion programme of investment in road improvements and maintenance will continue in the coming year and include work to dual the A9 and A96 and also includes the Queensferry Crossing.

As part of preparation for a Transport Bill later in the Parliament, during 2016-17 the Scottish Government will work with roads authorities, utilities, road users and others to develop legislative and other options for enhancing and improving the role of the Scottish Road Works Commissioner and the wider regulation of road works.

Read about the sixteen projects that will benefit from the £100m infrastructure stimulus package here.

Responding to the Programme for Government industry body Homes for Scotland pointed to the vital role that increasing the supply of new high quality, warm and energy-efficient homes could play in achieving the First Minister’s ambition of improving education outcomes and boosting the wider economy.

Nicola Barclay

Nicola Barclay

Chief executive Nicola Barclay said: “With the First Minister making it clear that education lies firmly at the heart of this new Programme for Government, it is crucial that the intrinsic link between educational attainment and access to good quality housing is recognised.

“Research has highlighted that improving access to new warm, energy-efficient homes has a number of important benefits.  These include significant positive effects on children’s abilities in terms of skills and education as well as contributing more widely to the establishment of sustainable communities which help these youngsters thrive. In addition, every new home built in Scotland supports four jobs, stimulating economic growth.

“Whilst we welcome the Scottish Government’s £3bn commitment to invest in affordable housing, it’s essential that we build enough homes of all tenures in order that our growing population can reach its full potential and make Scotland a better place in which to live, work and invest.

“We are encouraged by the announcements in relation to the Planning Bill which will be brought forward early in the Parliamentary session and await further details on this and the implementation of the recommendation of Simplified Planning zones and support to modernise compulsory purchase orders which would mean vacant and derelict land would be brought back into use.

“A refresh of the national strategy for housing for Scotland’s older people will also prove crucial in ensuring that people are housed in properties which are appropriate for each stage of their personal housing journey, potentially freeing up many much-needed family homes.”

Referring to the announcement of a £500 million Scottish Growth Scheme providing investment guarantees and loans for “high-growth potential companies, with clear export growth plans”, Barclay pointed to the difficulties faced by small and medium sized builders in accessing development finance and highlighted the key importance they have to play in the domestic market in increasing housing supply, calling for similar support to be made available to them.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in Scotland said the First Minister has taken “some very welcome steps” which will help to return some much needed stability to the property and construction sectors.

Gail Hunter

Gail Hunter

RICS regional director of Scotland, Gail Hunter, added: “While confidence in these markets wobbled following the Brexit result, the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2016-17 has provided key policies and legislative proposals that could provide much needed certainty in an uncertain world.

“The Scottish Government has clearly recognised the emerging uncertainty that has followed the Brexit vote along with its impact on Scottish business confidence and development. The commitment to spend £4bn on infrastructure next year, along with a £500m package of support for private businesses, could go a long way to alleviate this. The government now needs to outline where this money will be directed: be that into new projects, or bringing forward the delivery of existing projects, such as the A9 and A96 dualling.

“Furthermore, the development of a Scottish Rural Infrastructure Plan in 2017 is a welcome move. Prior to the election, we RICS called on the newly elected government to deliver such a plan, providing a clear strategy around greater connectivity of broadband, energy and transport. RICS stands by this appeal and calls on the Government to inject rural economies with the infrastructure required that will entice private investment to rural and remote Scotland.

“There is little detail so far behind the announcement of the Scotland Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, but we would encourage the Scottish Government to look to the maintenance of existing stock – particularly older stock, and support for owners and tenants of these properties – in the process of developing regulations for this initiative.”

The Scottish Property Federation has welcomed moves to increase investor confidence and back start-up businesses.

David Melhuish

David Melhuish

Commenting on two key aspects of the Programme for Government which were of particular interest to Scotland’s real estate sector, director David Melhuish said: “The real estate sector welcomes the government’s commitment to bring forward a Planning Reform Bill as part of its response to the independent review on planning reform. The planning system has a major role to play in assuring investors that Scotland is open for business and competitive and what we can ill afford is any perception that the planning system in Scotland is more difficult to engage and work with. We welcome the positive momentum on planning reform which has been generated following the report of the independent review panel and look forward to engaging constructively with the government as the Bill is brought forward.

“The rollout of Simplified Planning Zones for housing is particularly welcome news and we hope that the Government will continue to engage with housebuilders and the development industry as well as local authorities to make use of the best practice which has emerged in places such as Hillington Park where a commercially led SPZ has been particularly successful.”

“The Scottish Growth Scheme is a positive use of government powers to support business growth.  The real estate sector has a part to play in delivering new jobs and investment in our towns and cities. Even a small major office or industrial development has the potential to deliver hundreds of new jobs but the sector needs positive support, including a business rates system which focuses on growth, in order to deliver new developments to drive the economy.”

Homes for Scotland laments lack of homes within Edinburgh’s LDP

Tammy Adams

Tammy Adams

The long-awaited approval of Edinburgh’s Local Development Plan (LDP) will not deliver the number of homes that the city needs, Homes for Scotland (HFS) has warned.

Approved by councillors yesterday, the LDP has scope for the provision of thousands of new homes but the industry body HFS believes the ‘planning by appeal’ process, which has dogged the city for months, shows no signs of being resolved under the Plan.

Tammy Adams, head of planning at Homes for Scotland, said: “Whilst (yesterday’s) meeting represents six difficult years of plan-making for our capital city, the unfortunate fact remains that the sites that have been allocated will not deliver the number of new homes that are needed quickly enough. This has obvious social and economic implications for our capital city and suggests a continuation of the ‘planning by appeal’ that has caused unrest in recent months.”

Earlier this year, the Scottish Government said the LDP should not be modified to include further housing land release at a strategic level and should be reviewed to ensure a continuing five year housing supply is achievable.

Ms Adams added: “With the council now having an additional year to produce improved statutory guidance on infrastructure, we are concerned that this could lead to a further vacuum during which any new sites are refused as a matter of principle – rather than being welcomed as a way of better meeting housing need.

“Critically, however, with a national planning review underway, there are important lessons to be learnt from Edinburgh’s experience – not least the need to identify and resolve major problems, such as the failure to fully plan for new homes and infrastructure, much earlier in the process. Otherwise it is not entirely unreasonable for people to ask ‘why plan at all?’.”

Call to boost supply as average house price jumps 4.6 per cent

Registers of ScotlandThe average price of a house in Scotland rose by 4.6 per cent in June compared to last year, according to statistics from Registers of Scotland.

The latest figures from the UK house price index (UK HPI) showed prices have risen to £143,282, 2.7 per cent higher than May.

Edinburgh had the largest increase over the last year, where the average price increased by 11.7 per cent to £240,978.

This compares with a UK average of £213,927, which rose by 8.7 per cent year-on-year and is up by 1 per cent from May.

The biggest house price decrease in Scotland was seen in Aberdeen, where prices fell by 6.8 per cent to £178,069.

Despite average prices increasing across Scotland, the volume of residential sales slumped by 16 per cent. The April sales figure was 6,665, significantly lower than the March sales figure of 11,017.

Sale volume figures for May and June have not been included in the latest report due to the time taken between completion and registration of sales.

The contrast between March and April has been attributed to changes in land and buildings transaction tax which came into effect on 1 April, under which those purchasing buy-to-let properties must pay additional tax.

Nicola Barclay

Nicola Barclay

Responding to the statistics, industry body Homes for Scotland said that such upward pressure would continue as long as demand continued to outstrip supply, pushing home ownership beyond the grasp of many desperately trying to get onto the housing ladder.

Chief executive, Nicola Barclay, also expressed concern over the 16 per cent drop in the volume of residential sales in April 2016 compared with 2015.

Nicola Barclay said: “Whilst this decrease in the number of residential sales may in part be a consequence of the new 3 per cent Land & Buildings Transaction Tax supplement on additional homes, the news follows the recently reported drop in vital private sector construction for 2015 and demonstrates that we still have a long way to go before we return to the productivity levels that we need to significantly increase supply.

“Given that the single most effective way to address affordability concerns is to increase the supply of new homes of all tenures, we are calling on the Scottish Government to prioritise housing when allocating its recently announced infrastructure funding, in a move that would also boost jobs and the economy.”

Infrastructure funding ‘key to unlocking more homes’

Nicola Barclay

Nicola Barclay

Channelling accelerated capital funding into the delivery of more desperately needed homes would boost both jobs and the economy, according to Homes for Scotland.

The industry body was responding to plans revealed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to implement a stimulus to the Scottish economy in the wake of the EU referendum, starting with an additional £100 million of infrastructure funding in this financial year.

Chief executive Nicola Barclay said: “This £100m funding boost is welcomed as a means to support and stimulate the economy in what are uncertain times for many industries, including the home building sector.

“With projects being assessed for accelerated funding based on key criteria such as the number of jobs that will be supported or created and the likely impact on the supply chain, those focused on the delivery of more new homes should be prioritised given the significant social and economic benefits this offers.

“Every new home built in Scotland supports four jobs and helps boost economic growth through the supply chain. The industry also contributes to improving health and education outcomes and fighting fuel poverty.

“We would therefore urge the Scottish Government to prioritise housing when considering how these funds will be allocated in order to secure the thriving economic future we all want to see.”

Gail Hunter, director RICS in Scotland, added: “The Scottish Government is right to recognise the continued uncertainty affecting business confidence and development. Increased investment in job creation and infrastructure investment are vital to creating stability. With a growing housing crisis, and concerns around connectivity, both the Scottish and UK Governments must encourage prospective investors to consider infrastructure projects, and maintain Government investment; together these measures will generate the highest economic impact, and will help create and maintain jobs.

“Our most recent Construction Market Survey indicated a decline in market confidence, therefore accelerated capital spending on projects will provide confidence to the construction industry through infrastructure funding and development. This will help increase stability during a period of uncertainty and ensure that the UK and Scotland are well-placed to take advantage of growth opportunities in the future.”