Scotland’s housebuilding sector urges politicians to commit to 25,000 new homes each year

Nicola Barclay

SCOTLAND’S housebuilders have urged politicians across all parties to commit to consistently delivering at least 25,000 new homes each year.

Homes for Scotland (HFS) has launched its manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections: “Piecing the Housing Jigsaw Together”.  As well as highlighting the £25 billion contribution this would make to the economy over the next parliamentary term, the trade body said the document emphasises the impact housing has across a range of policy areas as well as the interdependencies between public and private sectors.

HFS chief executive Nicola Barclay said, “Housing is fundamental to both the desire for inclusive growth and the human right to an adequate standard of living, yet Scotland still doesn’t have enough of the homes it needs for its citizens.

“This shortage has built up over decades, compounded by the global financial crisis of 2008 since which time some 90,000 fewer homes than needed have been built. Whilst we have seen some positive progress being made in recent years, there has only been a target for affordable housing. We fully recognise the importance of this but we also need to make sure that we are delivering enough homes of all tenures. The next Scottish Parliament has the opportunity to ensure we do just that.

“This is vital for Scotland’s post-Covid recovery given the huge economic and social benefits new housing brings, not to mention the crucial role it has to play in terms of increasing energy-efficiency and tackling fuel poverty.

“But the process of delivering much-needed housing is extremely complex and challenging. Our manifesto draws attention to the myriad of different elements that need to be brought together and the premise is very simple:  no piece can be missing from the jigsaw if Scotland’s housing objectives are to be achieved.”

HFS said the need for a ‘clear statement of intent’ on the ambition to deliver these new homes each year is top of the trade body’s priority list in terms of focusing minds and encouraging private sector investment at a time when the industry acknowledges that public finances are under strain.

Nicola Barclay added, “Everyone has a role to play to make sure we have the homes our people need:  national government, local authorities, public sector, private sector, the population at large. This is the opportunity and mechanism with which to galvanise them all.”