Sector body welcomes housing emergency declaration and calls for regulatory reform

Jane Wood. Image credit: Chris Watt

HOMES for Scotland (HFS) has welcomed the declaration of a national housing emergency.

The sector body is now calling for political leadership to demonstrate a move from a position of blame to one of ‘solution and change’.

HFS said regulatory reform is required to increase the supply of new homes across all tenures, as well as reversing the ‘devastating’ cuts to the Housing and Building Standards Budget.

Jane Wood, HFS chief executive, said, “Unless the Scottish Government provides an emergency response that urgently addresses the shortfalls within the Housing Budget and the existing policy and regulatory constraints that serve only to restrict new housing supply across all tenures, today’s declaration of a national housing emergency will be no more than a symbolic gesture.

“With over a quarter of all Scottish households in some form of housing need and housing starts and completions across all tenures in freefall, recycling the same tired excuses that Brexit, cost price inflation and Westminster are the main drivers of the housing crisis just doesn’t cut it.

“Whilst these are of course significant issues, Scotland’s population and the sector that provides homes for our communities deserve better. The government must now forensically look at the solutions and take the actions required to address the systemic underfunding of the planning system alongside a swift review of existing and forthcoming housing policy to ensure Scotland has a housing system equipped to deliver homes across all tenures.

“The first step the Scottish Government could take to show it means business is to fundamentally review the forthcoming Housing Bill to ensure that it focuses on increasing supply, rather than creating an unworkable system of rent controls that is stifling inward investment into our housing system. HFS and our members stand ready to work with the Scottish Government to ensure today’s declaration is matched with an appropriate emergency response which aligns with a focus on new housing delivery across the Scottish Government, local authorities and those delivering the much-needed new homes.

“The first minister has the perfect opportunity to set out his approach to collaboration this Friday, as over 900 senior sector leaders meet in Edinburgh for our annual lunch and awards.”

The Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF) is calling on government and industry leaders to launch a national retrofit plan to harness the tens of thousands of vacant, sub-standard properties across Scotland.

Fiona Hodgson, chief executive of SNIPEF, said, “Revitalising these empty properties through a national retrofit strategy is not just about providing more homes; it’s a critical step towards addressing our dual crises of housing and climate change. By retrofitting these homes, we improve the energy efficiency of our national housing stock, reducing overall carbon emissions and moving Scotland closer to its net zero targets.”