Parliamentary housing debate ‘painted incomplete picture’

Philip Hogg
Philip Hogg

A continuing focus on publicly subsidised affordable housing in a Scottish Parliament debate painted an “incomplete picture” of the country’s housing requirements, according to Homes for Scotland.

During the debate, the Scottish Government announced it has exceeded its five-year target of delivering 30,000 affordable homes by March 2016, funded by £1.7 billion.

However trade body Homes for Scotland stated the debate did not tell the whole story.

Philip Hogg, chief executive of Homes for Scotland, said: “In order to make our country a better place in which to live, work and invest, it’s essential that we have enough homes of all tenures in order to meet the diverse housing needs and aspirations of our growing population.

“But (last week’s) debate in what was a near empty chamber highlights a continuing focus on publicly subsidised affordable housing. This paints just one part of the picture. What about the majority of Scots who still want to own their own home or those who want the flexibility of renting in the private sector?

“The fact is that the total number of new homes being built remains 40 per cent down on 2007 levels, exacerbating the housing pressures which particularly affect our young people and growing families.”

Mr Hogg added that providing more affordable housing is the key to addressing the undersupply of homes.

“This can only be achieved through an all-tenure approach but it seems there is a lack of political understanding with regards to this,” he said.

“If private sector construction was properly facilitated and increased, then affordable housing would similarly be boosted given the major direct contribution our industry makes in this area – estimated to be over £46m last year.

“This is why we are calling on the next Scottish Government to manage a return to at least pre-recession levels of building by the end of the next parliamentary term. This would mean at least 100,000 new homes based on an annual average growth rate of ten per cent.”