Housebuilding trade body claims Scottish Budget ‘fails’ first time buyers


TRADE body Homes for Scotland (HFS) has claimed the Scottish Budget missed a ‘prime opportunity’ to encourage a consumer shift towards low carbon homes and ‘fails’ Scotland’s would-be first time buyers.

The association reacted to the budget, delivered by finance secretary Kate Forbes.

HFS chief executive Nicola Barclay said it is ‘essential’ that environmental factors become a ‘key determinant’ for homebuyers, which is why she described as ‘extremely disappointing’ that a chance to link rates of Land & Buildings Transaction Tax and council tax to levels of domestic energy-efficiency has been missed.

“Also frustrating for the 82% of households in Scotland that would like to own their own home, the Scottish Government abruptly closed its hugely successful Help to Buy main scheme and First Home Fund earlier this year due to a reduction in financial transactions received from Westminster,” Nicola Barclay added. “Now this has been increased by £134m but nothing has been allocated to restore these initiatives, leaving the Open Market Shared Equity scheme, the criteria for which excludes many would-be purchasers, as the only means of government assistance.

“Rather than tackling inequality, I fear this will see the gap between the ‘housing haves’ and the ‘housing have nots’ continuing to grow.

“Whilst the continuing commitment for affordable housing is to be welcomed, it once again appears that the fundamental role that the private sector has to play in terms of both delivery and wider economic recovery has been overlooked.”