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SNP Government admits it has no idea how many houses will be built in Scotland

The SNP Government has revealed it has no idea how many houses will be built in Scotland in the coming years.

In response to a Scottish Conservative Freedom of Information request, ministers admitted they have not undertaken any internal work to calculate new-build plans or projections.

It means that it is impossible to know if they are on track to build the number of houses required to meet demand – despite five Scottish councils having declared a housing emergency. 

The damning revelation comes against the backdrop of the SNP cutting over £200million from housing in their most recent budget, and recent data showing a sharp decline in the number of completed new homes. 

Shadow housing secretary Miles Briggs labelled the SNP “utterly clueless” and said hardworking and vulnerable Scots were suffering the consequences of their failure to tackle the housing crisis.

 

Scottish Conservative housing secretary Miles Briggs MSP said: “The SNP have finally admitted what we have long suspected – that they are literally clueless when it comes to housing.


“It’s astonishing when Scotland is in the midst of a housing crisis that they have no idea how many houses will be built in the coming months and years.

“Perhaps, after failing to meet previous housing targets, this is the SNP Government’s way of evading further scrutiny of their abysmal record.

“Five Scottish councils have declared housing emergencies, thousands of Scots have been left languishing in social housing – including children and people with disabilities – and homelessness levels have soared.

“And, with Shona Robison slashing over £200million in cash terms from the housing budget in her disastrous tax-and-axe budget, things are only set to get worse for hard-pressed and vulnerable Scots.

“Only the Scottish Conservatives have a plan to tackle the housing emergency and get people into safe accommodation by creating a fund to bring empty properties across Scotland back into use.”

 

Notes to editors

 

The Scottish Government have no estimates on expected house building for any future time period. In response to a Freedom of Information request from the Scottish Conservatives, the Scottish Government responded with ‘We have not undertaken any internal work on estimating the number of houses that would be built in Scotland in the future’. (Scottish Government FOI Response, 28 March 2024, available on request).

The SNP Government failed to meet its 50,000 affordable homes target on time. The target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes was set to be delivered in March 2021, however, the SNP Government did not reach its target until one year later. (Insider.co.uk, 15 June 2022, link).

The number of new homes started and completed has fallen in the past year. In 2023, there were 20,992 all-sector new build home completions and 16,017 starts in Scotland. There were fewer homes completed (2,701 fewer; 11% decrease) and started (5,009 fewer, 24% decrease) in 2023 than in 2022. (Housing Statistics for Scotland, Quarterly Update: New Housebuilding and Affordable Housing Supply to end December 2023, The Scottish Government, 26 March 2024, link).

Shona Robison cut the Housing and Building Standards Budget by more than £200 million in cash terms in her Budget in December In 2023-24, the SNP Government allocated £738.8 million to the Housing and Buildings standards budget. However, for 2024-25, they will be allocating £533.2 million. (Scottish Government Budget 2024-25, 19 December 2023, Page 53, link). 

The Scottish Conservatives have proposed a £250million national fund to convert long-term empty properties into affordable homes to help tackle the housing crisis. Under these plans property owners can apply for grants of up to £25,000 to bring vacant properties back into use for residential purposes. The funds will be administered by local authorities and could bring around 7,400 vacant homes and commercial premises back into use over four years. (The Herald, 29 February 2024, link).