Homes boss warns of huge risk to jobs

NEW energy standards proposed by the Scottish Government could add £10,000 to the cost of new homes but will contribute only 0.07% to overall climate change targets.
That’s the claim made by trade body Homes for Scotland (HFS) which says the move will pose a huge risk to jobs and “desperately needed” housing.
The warning was issued as it emerged that an alternative approach developed by HFS and with the potential to help meet carbon reduction targets more cost-efficiently is not being considered as part of the public consultation.
The organisation, which represents companies building 95% of new homes for sale as well as a large share of affordable housing, has advised the Scottish Government about the impact of the proposals during a period that has seen housing production in both public and private sectors slump by more than 40%.
The industry developed an alternative technique to upgrade less efficient homes at no cost to the taxpayer. However, the retrofit option, which the HFS describes as offering ‘a bigger bang per buck’ does not appear in the energy standards review.
Voicing his frustration at the omission and apparent failure of the Government to heed the industry’s concerns, HFS chief executive Philip Hogg said: “Whilst the consultation suggests a 45% carbon reduction rather than the original 60% set back in 2007, this is a token dispensation resulting in proposals that threaten to cripple our industry and further deepen Scotland’s housing crisis at a time when 160,000 people are on waiting lists.
“Whether you consider the provision of warm, sustainable homes, employment, skills and training, tackling fuel poverty, long-term social benefits or economic contribution, home building supports a wide range of policy areas.
“All are of fundamental importance to Scotland’s social, environmental and economic well-being yet all face being adversely affected should these proposals be implemented as housing output, including affordable housing, will only fall further.
“And for what outcome? A new build housing contribution of only 0.07% to the Scottish Government’s over-all climate change target. Such negligible benefit simply does not justify the cost or wider risk. Indeed, the Scottish Government’s own analysis shows that the benefit does not justify the cost and yet the proposals are still proceeding.”
Hogg said the whole consultation appears “contradictory and ideologically driven” and added: “Whilst on the one hand the reconvening of the expert Sullivan Panel, which set the original targets back in 2007, acknowledges the dramatically different economic circumstances we are all now operating in, an implementation timeline of January 2014 leaves little opportunity for its findings to be fully taken into account. We therefore reiterate our call that no changes be made until this has been done.”