Housing crisis

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It WOULD take bold action indeed to transform Alex Salmond’s vision that Scots would have a constitutional right to a home in an independent Scotland (your report, 17 January) into reality at a time when Scotland is in housing crisis. Despite 160,000 people being on housing waiting lists, new households projected to form at an annual rate of 21,000 over the coming years and our population being at its highest ever level, a total of only 15,000 new homes were built in 2011 – a 40 per cent decrease since 2007 and the lowest level since the Second World War.

And, to make matters worse, Scotland’s home-building industry is facing the imposition of additional construction costs of as much as £10,000 per home should new energy standard proposals be implemented – all for a total 0.07 per cent contribution to overall climate change targets. This would only cripple an already still fragile industry and further adversely affect the future delivery of desperately needed warm, sustainable homes – whether for sale or social rent. The negligible benefit involved simply does not justify the cost to jobs, Scotland’s social wellbeing or the wider economy.

While we wholeheartedly share the First Minister’s view on the fundamental importance of housing, he will need to take some bold, decisive actions and give it the top priority it needs if he is to have any chance on delivering this constitutional pledge.

Philip Hogg

Chief executive

Homes for Scotland