Nothing to Celebrate in Scottish Housing Stats, says FMB Scotland

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Nothing to Celebrate in Scottish Housing Stats, says FMB Scotland

The latest Scottish housing stats underline the severity of the challenge that the new Government faces if it is to tackle the country’s housing crisis, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Scotland has warned.

Gordon Nelson, Director for FMB Scotland, said: “Despite the Scottish Government’s favourable spin on today’s housing stats, scratch the surface and there’s little to celebrate. According to these latest figures, total housing completions increased by 3% in 2015 compared to 2014. Although this is indeed an increase, when you compare it to the growth in house building south of the border in England, which increased by 21% over the same period, it pales by comparison.”

Nelson continued: “These figures demonstrate how far we are from building the number of homes that the country needs to tackle the housing crisis. House building output for 2015 is 9,000 units lower than it was in 2007, despite demand for homes soaring. That the number of housing starts in Scotland for the final quarter of 2015 was 12% lower than in 2014 is particularly concerning.

Grasping the Severity
“In light of this, the Government’s ambition to build 50,000 affordable homes by 2020 may be laudable, but risks losing sight of the wider picture, at a time where there is pressing need for more homes all of tenures. The Scottish Government has celebrated today’s figures based solely on exceeding their affordable housing figures, which suggests that they do not grasp the severity of the wider house building challenge.”

Nelson concluded: “Now is the time for the Scottish Government to concentrate on what it can do to facilitate a renaissance in house building. There are thousands of families and individuals for whom home ownership is becoming an ever-more distant dream. For the high proportion of people who aren’t eligible for social housing, the spiralling costs of privately rented accommodation will pinch hard.

“It’s imperative that a real effort is made to tackle an erratic planning system that stymies development and to unblock a financial system in which major banks are reluctant to lend to SME house builders which are crucial to getting Scotland building again.”


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