200 senior representatives from the home building industry, Registered Social Landlords, Local Authorities and other housing stakeholder groups met in Edinburgh today to reflect on the tenth anniversary of the Scottish Government’s “Firm Foundations” discussion document and to consider what can be done to address Scotland’s housing crisis.
With the number of homes being built across the country each year still less than half the 35,000 the Scottish Government outlined the need for a decade ago, Homes for Scotland Chief Executive Nicola Barclay issued a rallying call to the whole of the housing sector.
She told delegates attending the organisation’s largest ever conference that it was time for all those who want to see housing levels increased, regardless of tenure, to work together and roll up their sleeves to overcome the many barriers to delivery that remain if they are truly serious about achieving this objective.
“The economic downturn obviously had a massive impact on housing delivery but the cold hard truth is that numbers continue to bump along the bottom, with completion figures for 2016 falling to 16,953 from 17,090 the previous year.
“For the sake of this and future generations, we simply have to get on top of this problem. Politicians from all parties must take the long-view as well as recognise the bold action that is required to make a difference, the current planning review being a case in point.
Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities Angela Constance, who delivered the morning’s keynote address, said:
“Good quality, warm and affordable homes are vital to support and create jobs, and ensure a Scotland that is fairer and more prosperous. That is why we have committed to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes by the end of this Parliament, backed by £3 billion investment.
“Since 2007, we have delivered a record 69,000 affordable homes, and our previous five year target of delivering 30,000 affordable homes was exceeded. While our current target is ambitious, I am confident it can be achieved, working closely with all those with a role to play in delivering it, including Homes for Scotland.”