Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has vowed to focus on post-pandemic recovery by rebuilding Scotland — while the SNP would take a wrecking ball to the economy with a referendum.
The Scottish Conservative recovery blueprint includes proposals for the most new social housing since devolution began in 1999.
This would see 60,000 affordable new homes over the course of the new parliament. Two-thirds of these would be for social rent.
In addition, the Scottish Conservatives would aim to restore housebuilding to pre-SNP and pre-financial crash levels with 25,000 new homes in total per year by the end of the next parliamentary term.
The Scottish Conservatives would bolster that aim by giving homebuyers a £2,100 tax cut. The plan to raise the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) threshold to £250,000 would lift three quarters of all buyers out of the property tax entirely.
The party’s housing plans are in contrast to the SNP who dropped their 50,00 affordable new homes target over the past five years.
“We would also restore the Help to Buy which was scrapped by the SNP, launch the biggest social housebuilding drive since devolution, and restore power to communities from the SNP Government bygiving councils the power to create their own local LBTT discount schemes.
“Ourbold planswould kick-start the property marketand give a new generation of Scots the opportunity to buy their own homeafter the devastation of Covid.
“The Scottish Conservatives wouldrebuild Scotland brick by brick,while the SNP would ratherforce through another referendum andtake a wrecking ball to our recovery.
“The only way to stop an SNP majority and get 100 per cent of the focus back on rebuilding Scotland is for pro-UK voters to back the Scottish Conservatives with their party list vote on the peach-coloured ballot paper.”
Our rebuilding proposals include:
- Delivering 60,000 new affordable homes, including 40,000 in the social rented sector over the course of the next parliamentary term.
- Supporting our construction sector to build 25,000 homes per year by the end of the next Parliament.
- Permanently increasing the LBTT threshold to £250,000 and allowing councils to create their own local LBTT discount schemes.
- Restoring funding for the Help to Buy scheme, which was scrapped by the SNP.
How our plans will create jobs and improve infrastructure:
- Supporting an estimated 16,400 jobs over the period. Nathanial Lichfield and Partners for Homes for Scotland estimate that each Scottish home built supports 4.1 jobs. This calculation is taken from an average of 4,000 affordable homes being built each quarter (UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) and Housing Associations' Charitable Trust (HACT), The Impact of Social Housing: Economic, Social, Health and Wellbeing, August 2020, p23, link).
- Including in our Communities Bill is an obligation on councils to deliver services with housing. We will place new obligations on councils and developers for large scale new housing developments to deliver services in addition to housing. This includes shops, parks, public pathways, roads and schools.
- We will also through this Bill introduce compulsory sale orders for long-term unoccupied properties, bringing them back into use. This would allow councils to sell long-term unoccupied properties in communities which have become derelict and run-down. Last year there were over 47,000 long-term empty properties.
SNP missed targets:
- The SNP dropped their target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes over the last Parliament. The SNP claimed it was impossible for them to meet this target due to Covid. But Audit Scotland’s report, published two days after the SNP officially dropped the target and which didn’t account for the impact of Covid, said: ‘the target, and particularly the social rent element, is at serious risk of not being met.’ (Audit Scotland, Affordable Homes, 9 April 2020, link; SNP.org, 20 April 2016, link; Scottish Housing News, 6 April 2020, link).
- The SNP is failing to meet targets to boost the number of affordable homes for rural and island communities. Only 59 homes have been built so far via the rural housing fund and just 9 through the Island Housing Fund, despite the SNP estimating that the funds could create 500 new rural homes. (Scottish Government, FOI Publications, 28 July 2020, link; Scottish Government, £25m for affordable homes in rural Scotland, 26 February 2016, link).