Construction jobs bonanza for Edinburgh as new NHT phase launched

Christa Reekie
Christa Reekie

Housing developers are being invited to submit bids to deliver up to a further 500 new affordable homes for rent in Edinburgh after the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) launched an additional phase of the National Housing Trust (NHT) programme.

Developed in conjunction with the Scottish Government, NHT is an innovative programme which, as well as helping to deliver affordable-rent housing in areas where there is a shortage, also supports many hundreds of jobs within the construction industry.

The initiative allows developers and councils to jointly fund the purchase of newly-built homes, with local authority loans to the scheme being underwritten by the Scottish Government.

This latest phase of procurement has just been launched in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council, which is seeking to double the number of new NHT homes it has across the city.

Homes will be available for rent below market rates for five to 10 years before being sold, with tenants given priority to buy.

The council has already provided loans of over £45 million for 422 NHT homes, with the construction of a further 94 homes at the city’s Western Harbour area due to start soon.

Christa Reekie, SFT’s commercial director, said: “The City of Edinburgh Council has fully embraced the NHT initiative from the very start when it was launched in late 2010. So far the council has over 420 NHT homes across five sites and construction of an additional 94 more homes will start soon.

“To date, contracts have been signed to build over 1,250 NHT affordable-rent homes through the original council developer model at 32 locations across 10 local authority areas. Currently the NHT programme is attracting additional investment of nearly £190m and helped protect over 1,800 jobs.”

The council estimates that the building activity will support around 800 jobs in the local and national economy.

Edinburgh’s housing leader Councillor Cammy Day said: “NHT has been a great success in Edinburgh with huge demand for these affordable homes.

“We have responded to this demand with this new round of NHT, which will enable new affordable rented homes to be built.

“A major part of the council’s Coalition commitment is to ensure that the city’s residents are well housed and we will continue to work with partners to invest in affordable homes.”

Councillor Day added: “This is an innovative way of providing quality affordable housing, supporting local jobs and the local economy.”

Announcing the new round of NHT procurement, housing minister Margaret Burgess said: “Hundreds of NHT homes have already been delivered in the Capital, and I have been delighted to meet families who have benefited from having new, high quality homes that have met their needs.

“NHT continues to go from strength to strength and is well on track to deliver over 2,000 much needed new homes in communities across the country – all for very little taxpayers’ money.”

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