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Fewer homes started by Scotland’s housebuilding sector, figures show

Scottish Government figures showed a 13% fall in the overall number of new homes started in the 12 months to the end of June 2022 (Rui Viera/PA)
Scottish Government figures showed a 13% fall in the overall number of new homes started in the 12 months to the end of June 2022 (Rui Viera/PA)

The latest housebuilding figures have showed 20% fewer new homes were started in Scotland than pre-pandemic levels.

Scottish Government figures showed construction began on 19,060 homes in the year to the end of June 2022 – with this total 13% less than the previous year and 20% less the end year to the end of June 2019.

The Scottish Government said there were “global issues affecting construction which are impacting housing delivery”.

But with the figures also showing a drop of almost a fifth  in the number of affordable new homes where work was started, ministers were challenged to spend more cash on social housing.

According to the data, a total of 9,449 affordable homes were completed in the 12 months to the end of September 2022 – an increase of just 2% on the previous year.

In comparison there were 8,256 starts on affordable homes in the 12 months up to September, with this down by 19% on the previous year, meaning 1,877 fewer affordable homes were started.

New starts on properties for social rent – either by a council or housing association – were down by 11%, according to the figures.

Meanwhile, the number of properties started for affordable dropped by 37% on the previous year, with starts for affordable home ownership 42% lower.

Looking across all sectors, a total of 21,825 homes were built in the 12 months to the end of June 2022 – 9% more than the previous year and a 1% higher than the total pre-pandemic for the year to the end of June 2019.

Speaking about the situation, Alison Watson, director of the housing charity Shelter Scotland, said: “Scotland’s supply of social housing is going in the wrong direction.

“Today’s figures show that the Scottish Government is choosing to accept more homelessness, more child poverty, and more misery for thousands of people across Scotland.”

Ms Watson added: “Nicola Sturgeon and her Government have seen the evidence that social housing ends homelessness, they know that it reduces child poverty, and they know that only social housing provides the security 35,000 homeless households across Scotland so desperately need.

“By choosing to cut the social housing budget, the Scottish Government are choosing to accept the consequences of their decision.

“These cuts can be and must be reversed. Delivering more social homes remains the only way to meaningfully tackle Scotland’s housing emergency.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Affordable housing and new housebuilding continue to recover with annual completions having risen in the latest figures released today.

“Scotland has led the way in the delivery of affordable housing across the UK with 115,558 affordable homes delivered since 2007, with 81,307 of these for social rent.

“However, we are aware of the global issues affecting construction which are impacting housing delivery.

“We are working closely with the construction industry and housing partners to mitigate this where possible, and continue to collaborate with all our partners to achieve our shared goal of delivering more affordable homes for Scotland.”

The spokesperson added: “We are committed to delivering on our target of 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, with at least 70% of these available for social rent, and are making available more than £3.5 billion this Parliament to support the delivery of social and affordable housing across Scotland.”