HFS board asks Nicola Sturgeon for phased return of housebuilding

MEMBERS of the board of trade body Homes for Scotland (HFS) have written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon requesting a phased return to work which would enable them to complete the finishing touches on around 6,000 homes worth in excess of £1 billion to the economy.

The letter read, “It is in our firm belief that the home building industry is in a strong position to commence an immediate phased return to the new normal.”

Signed by 20 industry leaders, including Gary Milne, technical director of Stewart Milne Homes; Fraser Conn, regional director of of Bellway Homes; and Ian Drummond, divisional managing director of Taylor Wimpey, the letter informed the First Minister that the industry has ‘carefully considered and addressed’ all issues relating to the safe operation of construction sites and sales offices.

The signatories said that they believe the green light to finishing the some 6000 homes would help ‘mitigate the pandemic’s wide-ranging shockwaves’ by limiting the damage in terms of housing supply, job losses and business failures.

HFS chief executive Nicola Barclay said, “The Scottish Government’s recently announced short-term loan facility for SME home builders is welcomed and will provide a lifeline for many, but there is no escaping the fact that the long-term survival of all these businesses depends on their ability to get back on site and build homes, for both owner-occupation and rent.

“As we see the first sets of figures being released about the financial impact of the lockdown, we can be sure that the full impact is still to be felt. Our industry contributes significantly to Scotland’s social and economic wellbeing and we are ready and willing to re-open safely with additional measures in place to help protect our employees and customers, while also supporting the struggling economy. Our Board is now asking for the First Minister’s backing to allow us to do so.”

Click here to read the full letter.