Scottish Government ‘can no longer ignore housing crisis’

Jane Wood. Image credit: Chris Watt

HOMES for Scotland has said the Scottish Government can no longer ignore the ‘housing crisis’ after new figures revealed completions and starts across all sectors fell by by 11% and 24% respectively in the year end to December 2023.

The trade body said the figures illustrate a crisis which is ‘engulfing all tenures’, with private sector starts and completions falling by 20% and 9% between 2022 and 2023.

Housing association completions decreased by 12% and local authority completions were down 30%. Local authority led starts decreased by 49% and housing association starts were down 22%.

Housing association starts are now at their lowest number since 1988, while private sector starts have dropped to 2013 levels if discounting 2020 when Covid-19 significantly impacted homebuilding.

Jane Wood, chief executive of Homes for Scotland, said, “The Scottish Government can no longer ignore the country’s housing emergency and must take the urgent action required to address it. With four local authorities having already declared local housing emergencies, alongside today’s figures, what further evidence does the Scottish Government require to act?

“Frankly, Scotland’s population and the sector that provides homes for our communities deserve better than the same tired response that Brexit, cost price inflation and Westminster are the main causes of the housing crisis.

“Of course these are significant issues, but nowhere near as pressing as the challenges posed by an underfunded and under-resourced planning system which takes over 62 weeks to process a major housing application or the overall policy and regulatory environment which currently serves to hamper the delivery of new homes rather than promote them. Both of these are entirely within the control of the Scottish Government.

“Today’s figures further highlight the interconnected nature of the housing delivery in Scotland, which demonstrates the need for a healthy private sector to support the delivery of social homes.

“Rather than benchmarking a less bad completions rate against other parts of the UK, now is the time to take the bold action required to support housing delivery across all tenures. The Scottish Government must now surely take its head out of the sand, accept we are in the midst of a housing emergency and take ownership for addressing it.”