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Social housing on the up in Scotland

Words: Roger Milne
House building

Latest official statistics suggest that in 2016, 8,840 affordable homes were approved in Scotland, an increase of 20 per cent compared to the previous year.

Approvals for new build social rented properties were up by 17 per cent in 2016, to 5,101 properties, according to the statistics.

The figures were published as housing minister Kevin Stewart confirmed £70 million funding for 2017/18 for the Scottish Government’s Open Market Shared Equity (OMSE) scheme, which aims to help first time buyers and priority groups buy a property. This will enable a further 1,700 people to buy a home.

These quarterly statistics suggest that the total number of new homes being started to address the country’s housing crisis has fallen by five per cent to 16,870 over the last year.

Private sector starts dropped 14 per cent, down to 11,816. However, social sector housing starts increased by 24 per cent to 5,054.

Nicola Barclay, chief executive of trade body Homes for Scotland, said: “While it is good to see an increase in social sector funding and consequent activity, we must recognise that this equates to only a third of homes built, and we therefore need an all-tenure approach to delivery if we are to meet the wide range of housing needs and demands of people across Scotland.

“I am deeply concerned by these figures, which confirm the views of my members that it has never been more difficult to start sites and get much needed homes out of the ground.”

In a separate but related move the administration has published the latest housing supply assumptions for each local planning authority.

Image credit | iStock