Builders urge Scottish Government to guard against housing complacency

Nicola Barclay
Nicola Barclay

Scotland’s home building industry is urging the Scottish Government to guard against complacency over housing as new statistics show a marginal increase of just 251 homes (1%) completed in 2016-17 compared to the year previous.

The latest annual housing supply statistics, which were published earlier this week, revealed that over 10,600 homes were approved over the year to June, while the number of new builds starts, across the public and private sector, rose by 4% from 17,765 to 18,391, the fourth consecutive annual increase and the highest annual number of starts since 2008-9.

However trade body Homes for Scotland has warned that the increase threatens to downplay “serious systemic issues” contributing to the supply of housing.

Chief executive Nicola Barclay said: “Given the chronic undersupply of housing in Scotland, any form of increase is obviously welcome but closer scrutiny of the figures shows serious systemic issues which appear to be being downplayed.

“The fact of the matter is that an additional 251 new homes doesn’t even begin to address the scale of Scotland’s housing crisis, and whilst affordable housing starts might be up, private sector numbers are down by nine per cent at their lowest level in three years. This is extremely worrying, not just in terms of its impact on the majority of Scots who aspire to own their homes but also in terms of the consequences for jobs, investment and economic growth.

“Unless there is a considered look at the big picture, the inter-dependences between sectors fully recognised and a whole system approach adopted, there must be serious doubt about the achievability of any party’s housing targets.

“The housing minister states that he stands ready to discuss solutions to stimulate private sector growth. These latest figures underline that now is the time for action if we are to safeguard our country’s social well-being and future prosperity.”

Yesterday housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland highlighted concerns it has regarding the number of home completions as well as an increase in social tenant evictions.

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