THE major trade bodies for construction, house building and commercial property have joined forces to voice their collective concern over Scottish Government proposals to impose additional regulatory burdens that will threaten to put the country at significant economic disadvantage to England.
With Westminster seeking to cut the costs of business in England through the ‘one in, two out’ rule – which specifies that every regulation imposing a new financial burden on firms must be offset by reductions in red tape that will save double the amount – Homes for Scotland, the Scottish Property Federation, Scottish Building Federation and Federation of Master Builders say they are greatly concerned that the imposition of more bureaucracy and increased costs will mean Scotland will become comparatively more expensive and difficult to invest in.
In a letter to Ministers highlighting the potential impact of further red tape and its associated cost, the organisations point to the recent consultation on energy standards, with the Scottish Government’s own figures showing that those proposals could add up to £10,000 to the cost of building what are already energy-efficient new homes.
In a joint statement, the organisations said: “The additional cost burden is not reflected in house price valuations and could therefore further depress housing production as well as risk the very existence of some companies at a time when Scotland is already confronted by 160,000 people on waiting lists, output at its lowest level since 1947 and record insolvencies in the construction sector.
“Similar concerns apply to commercial property development where further demands in terms of energy efficiency also threaten increased construction costs when new offices have already reduced their carbon emissions by 70% compared to 1990 and the sector faces continuing difficulty in accessing finance.
“The organisations consider that any moves to further increase regulation will have significant impact, not only in terms of the delivery of much-needed new homes and jobs but also the wider range of policy areas which home building and the construction industry more generally supports.”
Homes for Scotland Chief Executive Philip Hogg said:
“Whilst we fully support the Scottish Government’s ambitions to address the challenges of the green agenda, we believe that imposing even more stringent requirements on the new build sector ignores the more pressing need to improve the energy performance of the existing built environment, where the overwhelming bulk of the problem lies.”