Scottish Government can no longer ignore housing crisis – HFS

Homes for Scotland Chief Executive Jane Wood

NEW statistics published today reflect Scotland’s dire housing situation, with both completions and starts across all sectors falling significantly by 11 per cent and 24 per cent respectively in the year end to December 2023.

The figures illustrate a crisis which is engulfing all tenures, with private sector starts and completions falling by 20 per cent and 9 per cent between 2022 and 2023, and social sector starts and completions dropping by 35 per cent and 18 per cent.  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 sector body Homes for Scotland (HFS), which represents members delivering the majority of the country’s new homes of all tenures, 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.”

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