The new Chair of trade body Homes for Scotland Jim Mather has called on the Scottish Government to “evolve” its hugely successful Help to Buy shared equity scheme in order to maintain the positive progress that has been made in supporting buyers, stimulating the building of new homes and creating jobs.
This follows news earlier this week that the scheme has to date resulted in 5000 sales worth £1bn.
Delivering his inaugural address to an audience of some 900 senior industry representatives and guests attending the organisation’s Annual Lunch in Edinburgh on Friday (15 May 2015), including Housing Minister Margaret Burgess, Mather, himself a former Minister, urged the Scottish Government to announce details of what new support will be in place after the planned end of Help to Buy (Scotland) in March next year so that both buyers and builders have the confidence and predictability necessary on which to base their purchasing and investment decision-making.
Committing to help establish the urgent need for new homes of all tenures as an issue of national priority and raise it to the top of the public policy debate, Mather also emphasised the need for the Scottish Government to work closely with the industry and other key stakeholders to avoid unintended negative consequences that could not only damage the industry’s ability to deliver much needed homes but also diminish the economic and social benefits that would otherwise accrue.
Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said, “The Scottish Government has invested hundreds of millions of pounds to pursue a range of initiatives to support private sector activity. Whilst the delivery of affordable housing remains our top priority, the Scottish Government is committed to see an increase in supply across all tenures, delivering a strong sustainable economy and supporting a fairer society.”
The winners of this year’s Homes for Scotland Awards were also announced at the event with Springfield Properties picking up Home Builder of the Year.